LAHORE The timetable of Pakistan Railways appears to have been prepared in a way that serves the interests of the private transporters rather than passengers. According to a survey conducted by TheNation, the passengers were of the view that the PR timetable was not suitable for them because it added to their miseries due to inconvenient schedule. They said that the existing timetable leaves the passengers with no other option but to travel through private transports. As per the timetable, there is only one train on Rawalpindi-Kohat route while hundreds of private vans provide transport facility to the passengers on this route throughout the day. There are only two trains Jaffar Express and Quetta-Express on Rawalpindi-Quetta rail link and only one train on Quetta-Multan route. The six trains - Karachi Express, Fareed Express, Karakoram Express, Tezgam Express, Allama Iqbal Express and Khybermail Express - leave Karachi for Lahore and Rawalpindi within a short span of five hours (5pm to 10pm) adding to the sufferings of the passengers who have to travel considerably to reach the railway station. Likewise, all three trains Pakistan Express, Thal Express and Tezgam Express depart Rawalpindi for Multan within just two hours duration (6am-8am) and passengers have to wait for no less than 22 hours to travel through the train if they miss it. The Lahore-Rawalpindi route enjoys five fast trains - Quetta Express, Tezgam Express, Subak Kharam Express, Margla Express and Peshawar Express - between 1pm-9pm and four trains - Islamabad Express, Subak Raftar, Awam Express and Jaffar Express - begin journey between 7am to10am. All the six trains - Allama Iqbal Express, Tezgam Express, Karakoram Express, Karachi Express, Awam Express, Fareed Express, and Khyber Mail - from Lahore to Karachi start the journey within six hours duration (1pm-7pm) and Fareed Express and Khyber Mail leave Lahore at approximately same time i.e. 7.30 am and 8 am respectively. Similarly, four trains - Pakistan Express, Millat Express, Karakoram Express and Super Express - depart Faisalabad for Karachi in eight hours and there is no train for the passengers during rest of 16 hours. Only Rohi Express and Hazara Express on Shorkot Cantt-Rawalpindi route depart in the surprisingly same timings 3.25am and 3.50am respectively and not a single train for the rest 23 hours. The bad planning, in fact, is serving the interests of the private transporters rather than the passengers because the passengers are left with no other option but to travel through roads instead of waiting for hours for the next train. This exercise also badly affects the revenue generation of the PR. The PR spokesman Mohsin Yousuf, however, denied any involvement of the transporters in the timetable adjustment, stating that the PR was facing acute shortage of funds, locomotives, and wagons. Hence, the PR has no more trains to bridge the wide gap between the two trains on the same rail link. When interviewed, passengers at the Lahore Railways Station strongly protested against the PR department due to one or another reason. According to them, considerable delays, awkward schedule, rude attitude of the officials, lack of facilities for the passengers at the railways stations, and bad condition of bogies are the salient features of the PR department. Naseer Gujjar, a doctor from Lahore, was of the view that he preferred rail journey but the management failed to provide modern facilities to the passengers. Muhammad Ali, a teacher from Multan, said, I used to travel by train but now I have changed the practice due to hours-long delays and awkward timetable. Usman Asghar, a citizen who had arrived from Karachi, said that train journey was a hard nut to crack as the trains arrive much late. Abdul Ghaffar, a Punjab government official, alleged that the Lahore-Faisalabad non-stop train facility had been withdrawn to save the interests of the private transporters. The PR is not only bearing massive financial loss but also its dignity, thanks to the mismanagement in the PR administration. By JAVAID IQBAL (contributor)