KARACHI - Railways Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour on Saturday said he will resign if the Prime Minister will not allocate the funds to Railways.

He was talking to the media persons after the arrival of country’s first private Business Train at Cantt Station here on Saturday. Bilour said it is impossible for him to think of Pakistan Railways being privatised. The minister also blamed the 30-year-old locomotives, which were not in good condition, as the main reason for Railways collapse. He expressed the hope the department would successfully come out of financial crisis with participation from private sector.

Earlier, passengers were accorded warm welcome when the Business Express arrived at Cantt Railway Station, completing its maiden journey on time with 486 on board. The Railways Department is operating this Karachi-Lahore luxury train in collaboration with private sector. The passengers seemed happy when they reached Cantt Station where special arrangements were made for their welcome.

Railways General Manager Saeed Akhtar Railways DG Aftab Memon greeted the passengers. Akhtar announced the government had planned to operate five more trains in partnership with private sector, describing the private investment in Railways a ‘successful experiment’.

The train reached Karachi after an 18-hour journey, covering 1,200 kilometres, between country‘s two biggest cities, that once used to take 30 hours.

Pakistan Railways and Four Brothers International Private Limited signed an agreement on August 18, 2011 to operate the train between the capitals of Punjab and Sindh. The train will pay Rs1.57 million per single journey and Rs1.15 billion annually to Railways at the rate of 88 per cent of carrying capacity of the train. The agreement will be extended for another term with the consent of both the parties. The private sector company invested Rs225.79 million in these business trains, which consist of 13 coaches including nine air-conditioned, two power vans, one luggage van and one brake van, said a Pakistan Railways official.