On March 17, China and Pakistan committed to complete the major ML-1 railway upgrade project as soon as possible under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This is a significant milestone, as well as the execution of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s critical consensus reached during his recent visit to China.
An online conference between Pakistan’s CPEC Authority and China’s National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) resulted in the agreement.
The relevant departments of the two nations are now fully prepared to take the required steps to turn the high-level agreements into concrete actions on the ground as soon as possible.
The ML-1 railway upgrade project is extremely important to the Chinese side. China’s National Railway Administration (NRA) and other key institutions are now collaborating closely with relevant Pakistani ministries, such as Pakistan Railways, to finalize the project’s specifics. With a total length of 1,726 kilometers, the ML-1 railway connects Karachi and Peshawar through Lahore and Islamabad. It is Pakistan’s most significant south-to-north trunk railway.
Havelian Station is located at the northernmost point of Pakistan’s railway network, from where the railway is intended to expand northward over Khunjerab Pass to Kashgar Railway Station. In the sphere of transportation infrastructure, the upgrade of ML-1 and the development of Havelian Dry Port are major projects under the CPEC.
The Chinese side is eager to collaborate with the Pakistani side to expedite the implementation of significant projects such as the ML-1 upgrade, increase technological cooperation in the railway area, and advance CPEC to a new level of enrichment, expansion, and high-quality growth. It is Pakistan’s most significant south-to-north trunk railway.
The primary artery of Pakistan is the ML-1 railway, which runs from south to north. Passenger train speeds will be enhanced from 65-110 km/h to 165 km/h after the project is completed. The capacity of the railway transport system will be increased from 34 trains per day to 137-171 trains per day. As a result, the mega-upgradation project is critical to Pakistan’s social and economic development.
Furthermore, the massive upgrade project will significantly avoid railway accidents. People will just have to travel from Karachi to Peshawar in seven hours in the future. After the project is completed, it will encourage tourism and give job possibilities for hundreds of thousands of people in the area.