ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is actively pursuing re-start of container train service between Pakistan and Turkey via Iran through tripartite arrangements under the auspices of Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).

Sources at Pakistan Railways on Sunday said that the container train operations between Pakistan and Turkey through Iran was inaugurated during 2009 and first container train left Islamabad on August 14, 2009.

As per details, the train operation continued till December 2011.The present government signed an MoU with Turkish Railway for revival of freight train service on November 23, 2013 to help promote trade.

The Railway network is already connected to its neighbouring countries and it is connected to Iran through Quetta-Taftan link (612 KM) which further extends upto Zahidan within Iran (95 km), the sources said.

The Railway track from Quetta to Zahidan, is broad gauge (1676 mm), from Zahidan onwards to Istanbul is standard gauge (1435 mm). However, track falling within territorial jurisdiction of Pakistan is in dilapidated conditions, the rehabilitation of which has been included in future plans of Pakistan Railways.

Replying to a question about steps being taken to enhance capability of locomotive factory, Risalpur, the sources said there is a requirement of 500 D.E Locomotives to meet with anticipated freight and passenger traffic during next 10 years.

In the first phase, international tender is proposed to be floated in near future for manufacture/procurement of 200 locomotives which also includes partial manufacture of D.E Locomotives at Pakistan Railways Locomotive Factory, Risalpur by upgrading its existing capacity from 25 D.E Locos per annum on single shift basis to produce 50 D.E Locos per annum through enhanced indigenisation.

The sources said the Transfer of Technology (ToT) for local manufacturing of D.E Locos with target of 50 per cent deletion including complete traction motor, traction control system, cards and software etc in first five years of operation is envisaged.

They said a scheme for up-gradation and commercial operations of Pakistan Locomotive Factory, Risalpur on "Joint venture basis" with private sector participation is accordingly being explored and in this regard, engagement of valuators for evaluation of assets of Locomotive Factory for entering into Joint Venture with prospective Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) is under process.

Pakistan Railways has also sought Expression of Interest (EOI) from technically qualified and financially sound private investors to participate in the bid, to be opened on February 10,2016. The sources said in addition to above, the infrastructure of the factory has been geared up in last two years to diversify activities with following operations also being undertaken.

These include modification of 42 locomotives out of project of Special Repair of 250 (150+100) locomotives and work in progress.

The other operations are manufacture of 400 Hopper Wagon, rehabilitation of 66 Hitachi Traction Motors and conversion of 40 Power Vans into Brake Vans.