During the One Belt One Road Summit, Pakistan and China signed a number of agreements and MoUs involving some transport infrastructure projects.
On railway transport sector, Pakistani Minister for Planning Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal, said that the MoU involves the implementation of the modernisation of ML-1 railway line. The project will allow trains to run at speeds of 160 km per hour. “It will help in rehabilitation and up-gradation of Karachi-Lahore Peshawar to Landi Kotal (ML-1) Railway Track,” Ahsan Iqbal said.
The ML-1 (Main Line 1) is the main North-South transport corridor and cover 1750 km from
Kiamari (Karachi) in the southof Pakistan, to Peshawar/Torkham in the Northwest, and passing through Hyderabad, Rohri (Sukkur), Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi stations.
The ML-1 also includes the 91 km branch line between Lodhran and Khanewal and the 55 km section between Taxila and Havelian. Thus, ML -1 extends over a total length of 1,872 km. The entire railway track on ML – 1 is broad gauge (1,676 mm).
Implemented under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the project involves the modernisation of the tracks, tunnels, buildings, installation of signaling and telecommunication systems, rolling stock maintenance and overhauling facilities. In addition, the project envisages the construction of Havelian dry port, to meet the demand of containerized future freight traffic in connection with Pak-China Economic Corridor.
The value of the project is estimated at more than USD 8.2 billion and will contribute to the increasing of rail freight transport from Gwadar and Karachi to Khunjrab (a city at borders with China).
Other agreements signed with China involve the construction of Gwadar Eastbay Expressway, of New Gwadar International Airport along with facilities for the new airport.