By Wali Zahid
3 October 2016 update: E-ticketing facility is now available on Green Line Train and on railcar services from from Lahore to Rawalpindi section.
E-ticketing facility will be expanded to other railway services soon.
You can book your e-ticket here.
PS: Two suggestions for Railways Ministry:
1 UI/UX need to be made simple
2 A mobile phone app is needed
Today could be a new day for business travellers in Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has just inaugurated a new train service called Green Line in Islamabad.
Pakistan Railways’s service Green Line will run between capital Islamabad and commercial capital Karachi and will take less than 24 hours. 23 hours 15 minutes to be precise.
Free meals & wifi
The Green Line train is no ordinary service.
It offers free wifi facility all the way from Islamabad to Karachi. (Update: user experience suggests that wifi disconnects frequently.)
Passengers will get free breakfast, lunch, dinner, teas and mineral water.
Food has been a sour point in train journey in this part of the world but there are assurances that food quality will not be compromised. Hope Railways could keep their word.
Separate waiting lounges will be set up for Green Line at Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi train stations.
The train comprises of air-conditioned business coaches. Locomotive engines and business coaches, imported from China a few months ago, are being used for Green Line, making it cheaper to get ready.
Pakistan: The brighter side:
Two trains will run on this route, with one daily service each way.
The first train will leave Islamabad at 3:15pm daily, arriving in Karachi at 2:30pm. Departure from Lahore will be at 9:00pm.
The second train will leave Karachi’s Cantt Station at 9:30pm everyday, reaching Margalla Station in Islamabad at 8:45pm the next day. It will arrive in Lahore at 2:45pm and leave for Islamabad at 3:15pm.
One-way ticket price from Islamabad to Karachi will be Rs 5,500 (US$55) per person. The child fare (3-10 years) will be Rs 4,130. Children under 3 are free.
One-way ticket price from Lahore to Karachi will be Rs 5,000 (US$50) per person. The child fare (3-10 years) will be Rs 3,750.
Some other indices on Pakistan
The train will have five stopovers at Hyderabad, Rohri, Khanewal, Lahore and Rawalpindi before arriving at Islamabad. A pro rata fare is being charged for destinations in between.
Railways helpline: 117
In a fragile Pakistan where train and road journey has not been fully safe in recent years, some security arrangements have been made. Commandos and police in plainclothes will be deployed on the route.
Pakistan Railways CEO will monitor the train on daily basis while other officers have been assigned to monitor the train’s route from Karachi to Islamabad from control room.