THE Pakistan Railways (PR) had 821 locomotives in 1948. Today it has only 528, out of which only 140 locomotives are functional, according to the data compiled by Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui (Nov 11).
The rest of Mr Siddiqui’s data on the PR is equally depressing.
Does it require any more data to pinpoint the issues being faced by the PR today!
Mr Siddiqui points out that the PR has three American engines constructed by G.E. and Alco. It also has Hitachi from Japan, Adtranz from Germany and some Chinese ones.
The writer talks about issues faced by the PR where the designs of these engines are concerned. Does this mean that American, Japanese, German and Chinese engines are faulty? Or is the PR trying to cover up its own inefficiency and that of its engineers?
Railway engines are like any other diesel engine; the only difference is their size. A diesel engine needs a constant supply of oil, cooling - water circulation in engine bodies and the timely replacement of air, oil and fuel filters. If only this is taken care of, then 90 per cent of the maintenance work is considered done.
During maintenance, different components are cleaned, inspected, recalibrated and replaced, if required. It seems that these basic needs are not being carried out.
Diesel - engine - driven flat - bed trucks operating at the Karachi Port are from the 1950s and 1960s. Their caretakers maintain these machines in great working condition at all times.
The spares for these old models are no longer available and, therefore, they are scavenged from other types of models. Using their ingenuity, they also use parts available in the Sher Shah scrap - market to good use.
PR engineers should exchange notes with these experts and ask for ideas so as to scavenge parts from the 288 idle engines that are rotting away in PR sheds. In fact, the PR management should go ahead and hire them as consultants.
Bringing more engines on railway tracks will resolve most of Pakistan Railways’ woes. The rest will fall into place automatically, God willing.
S. NAYYAR IQBAL RAZA