The Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project, previously estimated to be completed in 10 years, will now be completed in just three years.
The KCR project will be completed by September 2020 under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) mega project.
The Chinese Take-over
The KCR project was originally going to be financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project went under the CPEC basket, based on the orders of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. KCR, now in the CPEC basket, is estimated to be completed in 3 years.
Officials who were a part of the meeting between the Ministry of Planning and the railway officials, chaired by Senator Tahir Mashhadi, told that the project is being handled by the government of Sindh and China.
The Planning Commission, however, will oversee the final details of the project once it is submitted by the Sindh government for ENEC approval.
The 43.2 km railway track will have a standard gauge double track, 14.94 km at the surface and 28.18 km elevated.
KCR will have a total of 24 stations with each station separated by a distance of 1.8 km.
It will run through the most densely populated areas of Karachi such as Shah Faisal Colony, COD, Gulistan-e-Johar, NIPA, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Federal B Area, Manghopir, SITE, Balida, Orangi, Wazir Mansion, and Chanesar.
It will have 162 locomotives, all fully air-conditioned. They will have a total capacity of 250 people and an average speed of 45-50 km per hour.
Around 550,000 people are expected to use KCR during its opening year with an estimated 915,876 by the year 2040.
The project will potentially also include construction of a base station at Wazir Mansion, along with a car depot, a yard, and a dispatching control center.
The KCR project was abandoned in 1999 and was reinstated in 2005. It is now projected to be completed by 2020. It is considered one of the major projects under the Karachi Transportation Improvement Project, 2030 study.