Following a news item appeared in The Nation on the change of a train’s departure time allegedly to benefit the private transporters, the Railways minister has taken action and restored the earlier timings at Khanewal railway junction.

The residents Khanewal, Multan, Vehari, and Jhang districts have lauded the action taken by Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique.

In this regard, the ministry has issued two letters (701-T/315-1(TT) dated 26.01.2015) and 701-T/2/TT/2015 dated 29-01-2015). Earlier, a number of commuters including traders, politicians and members of civil society had protested against the change of departure time of 115-Up Shah Shams Express from Multan, alleging that change of its departure time was aimed to benefit the private transporters, and to cause huge loss to the department.

Moreover, MNA M Khan Daha, former minister Haji Irfan Ahmad, MPAs Nishat Ahmad, Fazalur Rehman and others also demanded that the federal minster should restore the stopover of trains at the junctions of Khanewal, Mian Channu and Chichawatni with immediate effect to provide safe and cheap travelling facility for the people.

On August 8, 2011, Shah Shams Express (115-Up & 116-down) had been stopped due to shortage of locomotives when its revenue was about 29.929 million per annum. During the present regime, the train was restored last year between Multan and Lahore and its time was fixed 4.00pm. It comprises seven coaches including four economy-class coaches, two business class and one coach of AC parlor. It facilitates about 628 passengers at one time, sources said. Thus the revenue generated from it is about Rs4.1 million and Rs48 million annually. But the railways authorities has planned to change the departure time of the train from 4.00pm to 5.00am.