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Karachi Circular Railway (KCR)

Salient Features of Karachi Circular Railway

Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) will be 43 km long (with 29km elevated) dual carriage track with 22 stations.
Infrastructure development for KCR will include overhead bridges & underpasses worth Rs. 27 billion.

Karachi Circular Railway divided in 2 phases

Total Cost: 250 Billion

1st Phase : Infrastructure

Fed Govt: 21 Billion
Sindh Govt: 6 Billion

2nd Phase : Modernised Transit System Electric Trains

Total Length: 43 KMs
Elevated: 29 KMs
Stations: 22




Dream of Karachi Circular Railway revival inching towards reality

Tahir Siddiqui
October 17, 2021

A map highlighting the proposed route of the Karachi Circular Railway.

A map highlighting the proposed route of the Karachi Circular Railway.

KARACHI: The scheme to restart the 44-km Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) by constructing three underpasses, a flyover and an elevated 6.4-km structure along with the laying of new rail tracks on most part of the route for running electric trains at a revised cost of over Rs207 billion still looks like a pipedream.

However, this highly ambitious plan, for which substantial ground work has already been done albeit on paper, may go a long way in transforming Karachi’s public transport problem.

There are many sceptics, including those in the Sindh government, who believe the federal government is still not sincere in reviving the KCR, which has remained off track for well over 20 years. However, those like the prime minister, who had inaugurated the project earlier this month, railways minister and some senior officials of Pakistan Railways are pretty confident that they will be able to complete this project in three years.

Initiated in 1964, the old KCR route started from Drigh Road and ended in downtown Karachi. After suffering losses for years, it ceased operations in 1999.

The service was initiated in 1964 and suspended in 1999
Infrastructure development

The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) has to start construction of structures on the KCR route and an elevated 6.4-km structure for Rs11.508bn in two phases, against which the provincial government has to pay Rs6bn as its share.

However, no contract has so far been signed or work order issued to the FWO.

The main idea is to remove almost all the authorised and unauthorised level crossing at 22 different places. (See map).

KCR Project Director Ameer Daudpota told Dawn that the project was primarily envisaged for the construction of structures for elimination of 22 level crossings from the KCR loop.

According to the PC-1 of the project, an underpass for road traffic would be constructed at Sehba Akhtar Road, Gulshan-i-Iqbal and the existing culvert at 13D area would be widened. An underpass will be built at Sharifabad, Federal B. Area and another at Mujahid Colony, Allama Rasheed Turabi Road. Besides, a flyover along Ahmed Shah Bukhari Road across KCR providing access to the congested neighbourhood along Mauripur Road and its link road.

The proposed structures would also provide conflict free movement of Green Line bus rapid transit system and road traffic along Nawab Siddiq Ali Khan Road, along Tabish Dehlvi Road near Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Chotta Maidan and Bara Maidan, Nazimabad.

The PC-1 of the project said that no major shifting or protection was needed for the utilities and services due to the construction of proposed structured along the KCR right of way.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021
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Dream of Karachi Circular Railway revival

‘550,000 ridership’

Mr Daudpota said that the proposed structures were part of the infrastructure for the development, operation and maintenance of KCR as modern urban railway under the public private partnership (PPP) mode. “The proposed structures will be compatible with other components such as electric traction, signalling, telecom, etc, to avoid any clash with the design of other components, which may be executed by BOT [built operate and transfer] partner,” he added.

The project director said that eight trains, each comprising a locomotive and four coaches, would run with each train facilitating 814 passengers at a time.

“The entire 44km route will be covered in 55 minutes,” he said and added the ridership would be 550,000 passengers per day.

He said that rehabilitation of the existing track from Drigh Colony/Drigh Road to Karachi City station on loop section had been started and so far it had 50 per cent physical progress.

“The rehabilitation of a 14km track from City station to Orangi station has already been completed with two trains operating per day from February 10, 2021,” he added.

The project director said that existing set up of KCR had 44km length with 30km loop and 14km main line length.

He said that there would 24 railway stations — 10 on-ground and 14 elevated.

All the encroachments on and along the KCR route have been removed by the railway authorities with the assistance of the provincial authorities, police and Rangers.

“Most of the KCR track was encroached upon for the past 20 years”, Mr Daudpota said adding that no authority ever bothered to clear encroachments from the site until the Supreme Court ordered.

The 44km KCR track passes through different parts of the city where people have built shops, houses and other structures over the past many years.

The displaced people will be rehabilitated by the provincial government.

Real challenges

Informed sources, however, told Dawn that the real challenge for the government was raising the infrastructure on the existing KCR as major help would be required from the federal and provincial utilities and services, which had their respective infrastructures both over and underground along the track.

They said that the railways authorities had already approached the utilities such as Sui Southern Gas Company, Pakistan Telecommunication Limited, K-Electric and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to share the details of their respective infrastructure, but their response was still awaited.

The KCR project director said that topographic survey drawings showing the project limits had been sent to the respective utilities and services concerned to mark their respective assets requiring protection or relocation.

The sources said that the process of awarding contract to the FWO might take up to three months as the bidding documents were still being prepared. The FWO has to complete the infrastructure in two years.

Railway Minister Azam Khan Swati said that modern KCR project would be completed in three years with a cost of Rs207bn with automatic electric air-conditioned coaches.

He also said that global tenders would be invited for procurement of electric trains.

Sindh govt sceptical

Though the provincial government has assured the railways authorities that it would be supporting them in improving the operation of the existing KCR, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh termed the “claims” of federal government regarding modern KCR as pile of lies.
“They have nothing, no funds and approvals for the electric trains,” he said and asked how the electric trains would be provided electricity when there was already power shortage in the province.

He said that the seriousness and interest of the federal government in the KCR could be judged from the fact that the railway authorities had not yet started carrying out fencing work on the KRC route, which was cleared of encroachments.

Financial model

The sources said that the financial model of the project on a BOT basis would be approved by Public Private Partnership Authority under the Planning Commission at meeting on Oct 30 with Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar in chair.

They said that private firms from China and Russia had already shown their interest to execute the modern KCR and the selection of the private partner would be made by the PPPA.

The sources said that the modern KCR was not financially feasible, but it was socially, economically and environmentally viable. They said that the project would involve heavy subsidies to the private partner by the government.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021
The federal government has planned to connect the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) with five under-construction Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors in the metropolis to ease the pressure of traffic on roads.

The plan was shared by Pakistan Railways officials while briefing Senate’s Standing Committee on Pakistan Railways. The meeting was held on Tuesday and was presided over by Chairman Muhammad Qasim at City Station in the port city.

The Railway officials briefed the Standing Committee regarding encroachment on Pakistan Railway’s land in Sindh and the measures to restore the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) to its original route.

“There is a plan to connect the KCR with the under-construction five BRT lines’ routes in the city,” the railway official told the meeting.

The Committee also recommended linking the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) with Jinnah International Airport in order to provide benefit to passengers coming from abroad and within the country.

The Committee briefed that Karachi Circular Railway will have electric trains and each train will have the capacity of not less than 814 passengers.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, revealed that work on the modern Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project would start from next month in January.

He announced this while speaking during the programme.

“The construction work on the new KCR project would start from January 2022,” he said, adding that significant progress was made on all five projects of KTP including Green Line BRT Project, K-IV Water project, cleaning of three nullahs, Karachi Circular Railways and Railway Freight Corridor.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, revealed that work on the modern Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project would start from next month in January,
Transit systems are Milk Cow for Developed world making easy Millions profit with operations
The government on Wednesday approved the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project that would be completed with an investment of Rs201.5 billion, including an expenditure of Rs105 billion by a private party.

The 43-kilometre-long rail service was part of the two schemes that the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved. The total cost of the two schemes is Rs232 billion, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance. Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin chaired the Ecnec meeting.

The per-kilometre KCR project cost comes to Rs4.7 billion, which is far lower than Rs6.1 billion for the Orange Line Metro project – an almost similar scheme approved in 2015 for Lahore.

The project envisages the construction of a 43.2km dual-track urban mass transit system over a period of three years.

Karachi Circular Railway Management Company (KCRMC) will be responsible for the oversight related to the execution, operation and maintenance of the project.

A committee was also formed under the chairmanship of finance minister to review the transaction structure related to the contribution of federal government subsidy.

The project will be implemented under the public-private partnership mode for which the transaction structure has been approved by the Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) board.

According to the financing model, around Rs90.6 billion will be given in subsidies by the government to complete the project in partnership with the private sector.

The government of Sindh will provide Rs6 billion while the concessionaire will invest Rs105 billion in the project. Out of the Rs90.6 billion, the government will provide Rs70 billion for civil works and Rs19.7 billion for overhead expenditures.

However, the transaction adviser hired to prepare the financing model had recommended the provision of Rs513 billion in subsidies over a period of 30 years.

The government subsidies are exclusive of the cost on account of minimum guaranteed revenue of 85% of the projected passenger flow. The government has largely transferred the demand risk to the private party. However, it will provide minimum revenue guarantee for first five operational years of the project at 85% of the projected passengers.

But the concessionaire will share 50% gain in the fare-box revenue with the government, if the actual ridership exceeds 115% of the estimated ridership.

KCR was part of the Rs739 billion Karachi Transformation Plan that the federal government had promised to deliver in three years.

The PPPA board had been informed in January this year that the KCR project was not financially viable and required substantial subsidies to make it viable and bankable for the private sector.

According to the consultants and the PPPA, the project presented very high risks such as fiscal, default, interface and demand risks and needs a thorough analysis by the Risk Management Unit (RMU), Finance Division.

The estimated cost of a passenger ticket is minimum Rs35 and maximum Rs90 with annual increase of 6% in fares. The project is expected to serve daily ridership of 457,000 passengers, which is expected to soar to 1 million by the end of 33-year concession period.

Ecnec also approved an increase in the salaries of project employees by 75%. The project employees’ salaries have been revised after a gap of five years. The increase will be applicable from the date of notification by the Ministry of Finance.

Ecnec allowed appropriate allocation in the budget of development projects for showcasing their effectiveness through media campaigns to create awareness of the federal government’s policies.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2022

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that they will request the Chinese government to make Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) a part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) Phase - 2 ...Latest Work Updates


Karachi Circular Railway Updates 4 Oct 2022​


CDWP approves KCR project worth Rs 292.389 billion​

By Staff Reporter | Pakistan Today Oct 26, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) Tuesday cleared Karachi Circular Railway Project (KCR) worth Rs 292.389 billion during its meeting held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal.
The meeting was attended by Secretary Ministry of Planning Commission, Chief Economist, officials from Ministry of Railway and representatives from Sindh Government including chairman PNDA, Board, Sindh.
The project envisages construction of 44-kilometer long and dedicated track, 1.435-meter wide standard gauge, starts from Drig Road passes through different areas including, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Federal B Area, Liaquatabad, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) and Lyari.
The scope of work includes construction of horizontal & vertical curvature, roadway and railway cross-section elements, ramp gradients and layout of structures with respect to the alignment.
The scope of work also includes construction stations, provision of Driver. Informatory, Regulatory and Warning Signs, passenger facilitation signs along with allied facilities. Route Alignment of the KCR.
The project is a part of an overall scheme of improvement of transport infrastructure including road network, provision of public transport / mass transit facilities and traffic management in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan and the capital of the Province of Sindh.
The development of KCR as a Modern Urban Railway will add to the existing Public Transport facilities in Karachi which have fallen short to meet the incremental demand over the last few decades due to non-availability of modern mass transit facilities and declining supply of large buses while the city continues to expand in population and urban area.
The main objective of the project is to provide reliable, safe and environmentally friendly public transport to the Metropolitan City of Karachi.
The project entails construction of a 43-kilometer Dual Track Urban Rail Mass Transit System expected to be constructed in a period of 4 years.
The project is expected to serve a daily ridership of 457,000 passengers per day which is expected to soar to 1 million per day in future. The project will deploy the use of electric trains and will be operational for 7 days a week and 17 hours a day.
Thirty stations would be constructed under the project along the corridor covering the densely populated area of the city.
The economic benefits of the project are phenomenal in terms of saving vehicle operating costs, environmental protection, accidents and time savings, contribution towards promoting gender equality, and spill-over tax impact.
The minister/DCPC directed the concerned officials to immediately settle the issues in PC-1 and submit the report in two days.
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