‘Preliminary work’ started on Kandahar and Jalalabad lines

An official government of Pakistan press release dated 19 May 2009 claims preliminary work is underway for the long-planned Chaman – Spin Boldak – Kandahar extension of Pakistan’s rail network into Afghanistan.

The press release also says similar work is underway on a line from Peshawar to Jalalabad; presumably the rehabilitation of the famous Khyber Pass line combined with an extension over the frontier.

PR No. 206
PRESS RELEASE

UKRAINian ambassador calls on minister for railways

Islamabad; May 19, 2009

Ukrainian Ambassador, Mr. Ihar Pasko called on Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour here today.

The matters of mutual interests in the backdrop of extending cooperation and business in Railway sector between the two countries came under discussion.

The Federal Minister for Railways briefed the Ambassador about on-going development in Railways Sector and told that preliminary work has been started on Chaman-Qandhar section and Peshawar-Jalalabad section.

The Minister said that establishment of rail link with Afghanistan, Pakistan may provide an easy access to Central Asia Russia and rest of Europe.

The Ukrainian Ambassador briefed the Minister about the achievement and development of Ukrainian Railways and expressed his eagerness to extend cooperation in railway sector with Pakistan.

The Ambassador highlighted the characteristics of Ukrane locomotives, Tracks and other technicalities.

The Secretary and Chairman Railways welcomed the offer made by Ambassador and said that Ukraine might also participate in Tender Process by following the rules and procedures laid down by the Railways Ministry regarding procurement.

The Secretary Railways further said that the exchange of Railway experts from both sides will benefit each other in professional backdrop.
SA/Ahmad
Source: Press Information Department, Government of Pakistan 2009-05-19

Unfortunately it does not specifiy what “preliminary work” means.

Reduction in deficit of Pakistan Railway witness in current financial year: Bilour.

ISLAMABAD, 13 May, 2009 (Frontier Star) — Federal Minister for Railways, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has said […] while talking to media on the occasion of inauguration of “Islamabad Express” […] the under-construction Railway project from Chaman to Afghanistan would be completed very soon, reducing not only the travelling difficulties of passengers but also save their time.
Source: The Free Library/Asia Pulse/Frontier Star

The idea of a line to Kandahar has been discussed for many years – it was one of the first proposals for an Afghan railway way back in the 19th century.

On 1 October 2004 the Pakistan Times reported:

Quetta-Kandhar Bus Service to begin Shortly

[A meeting between] Governor Balochistan Owais Ahmed Ghani and Governor Kandhar Engineer Mohammed Yousuf Pashtoon […] decided to start construction of Railway line between Pakistani border town Chaman and Afghan city Kandhar for which survey has already been conducted. […] The 100 km Railway track would be completed at an estimated cost of US dollar 110 million with the coorporation of Pakistan Railways.
Source: Pakistan Times 2004-10-01

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