The International Steam Pages


Pakistan Railway Heritage

Anyone seriously interested in actively supporting a program to prevent wholesale destruction of Pakistan Railway's heritage should use the contacts given. Alternatively, I can put you in touch with the relevant authorities. I should perhaps add that there are signs that some of the potential preservation material may be held back from the early stages of the redundant asset disposal program to give a short time for preservationists to finalise their plans.

The Government of Pakistan has recently adopted: (a) a short term stabilisation program to stem the growing losses of Pakistan Railways (PR), and (b) a far reaching reform and privatisation program to enable a modern railway industry to emerge to meet the needs of Pakistan s economy.

Disposal of Redundant Assets

Many lightly used, loss making passenger trains have been cancelled resulting in the end of most PR steam operations. PR now plans to dispose of substantial amount of surplus assets. While some broad, meter and narrow gauge steam locomotives etc., may be preserved, there will be a very substantial amount of material including locomotives that will be disposed of for scrap. These include classic broad gauge (5’6") SPS 4-4-0, SGS 0-6-0, and HGS 2-8-0, built by a variety of British firms during 1900-20s as well as CWD 2-8-2 Canadian built during the 1940s; metre gauge 4-6-0s (British built during 1910-20s) and more recent YD 2-8-2; and narrow gauge (2’6") ZE and G 2-8-2 (British built during 1900-20s) and ZB 2-6-2 (Bagnall and Hanomag built during 1920-30s)

There is therefore a unique opportunity for interested parties to purchase at commercial prices a wide range of surplus material, including steam locomotives and their maintenance and overhaul tools and machinery. Early action would however be necessary since it is unlikely that a Pakistani "Barry phenomena" would occur. Material for scrap is cut up very quickly in Pakistan, as evidenced by the ship breaking near Karachi. Parties with serious interest should contact the General Manager, Pakistan Railways, Lahore Pakistan, fax: 92 42 9201760.

Preservation of the Railway Cultural Heritage

Efforts are being made in Pakistan to preserve some of the railway cultural heritage, including operating steam locomotives, possibly in conjunction with the Khyber pass train as well as other tourism efforts (see below). Persons interested in supporting this effort should contact Mr. Vaqar Zakaria, Centre One, 1, St. 15, Khayaban-e-Iqbal; F7/2 Islamabad, Pakistan. Fax no +92 51 824489 Email: vzakaria@hbp.sdnpk.undp.org (email not valid by April 2015).

An initial effort is required to compile a list of equipment and structures of historic interest. Perhaps some of the persons who have made extensive visits to Pakistan Railways in recent years would have suggestions for what could be included in such a list. Any suggestions could be sent to Mr. Zakaria.

Tourist and Luxury trains

During the coming 12-18 months, many of PR's fleet of about 30 saloons may become surplus in view of the railway reform program and the government policy to curtail the VIP culture in Pakistan. These saloons could provide the basis for a luxury tourist train, which would have the potential to be the equal of such services in South Asia. Rail passenger services in Pakistan are likely to be increasingly operated on a commercial basis or even by private passenger train operator(s), and therefore there is a potential to develop commercially viable tourist and luxury special train services.

International speciality tour operators and railway tour operators may therefore wish to consider how these developments could fit in with their plans and they may wish to ensure that emerging passenger train operator(s) are aware of the potential for tourist and luxury market business both for domestic and international markets. For the moment, contact could be made with the General Manager of PR, but also with the Privatisation Commission in Islamabad so that these opportunities are taken into account during the reform and privatisation process.

Heritage Signalling Equipment

PR s signal workshop in Lahore makes a wide range of traditional manual signalling equipment etc. Once Pakistan’s railway industry is being run on commercial lines, there will be an opportunity for heritage railways to obtain a wide range of signalling equipment.


Rob Dickinson

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