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Pakistan-China cooperation provides stable, safe operation of CPEC project

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2024-02-09


An Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) runs on the track in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 2, 2024. [Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal]

Haseeb Ahmed Janjua, operations planning manager at the Orange Line Metro Train, praised guidance provided by Chinese experts, saying that Pakistani staff are well prepared with skills needed to efficiently operate the country's first-ever modern rail transit system.

by Ali Jaswal, Tang Binhui, Wang Huan

LAHORE -- Okasha, a 24-year-old electrical engineer, feels delighted to drive the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) built in Pakistan's eastern Lahore city under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

"It's a wonderful experience, I am so proud that I am serving the nation by working as a driver in Pakistan's first-ever mass rapid urban transit train service. I consider it a public service," he told Xinhua.

As an early-harvest project of CPEC, the Orange Line project was jointly constructed by China Railway Group Corporation and China North Industries Corporation, and it was put into operation on Oct. 25, 2020 in the capital city of the eastern Punjab province.

The young engineer has been working on the project for the last three years. He started driving the train following a six-month-long training course designed and taught by Chinese instructors, which included technical and safety components.

"We are made so perfect in it that we can expect and handle all types of fault or crisis situations," he said, emphasizing their ability to manage operations independently.


An aerial drone photo taken on Feb. 2, 2024 shows an Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) running on the track in Lahore, Pakistan. [Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal]

Haseeb Ahmed Janjua, operations planning manager at OLMT, praised the guidance provided by Chinese experts in a conversation with Xinhua, saying that the Pakistani staff are well prepared with the skills needed to efficiently operate the country's first-ever modern rail transit system.

"I can proudly say that I am working with one of the most hardworking people in the world," he added.

According to the management department of the OLMT, the project has operated safely and stably for a total of 1,119 days since its opening up till the end of last year. With 323,000 train journeys covering a total distance of 40.89 million kilometers, around 130 million passengers have been served through the train network.

"If I travel by road, it takes 40 to 45 minutes, while with the orange line it just takes 15 minutes," Shanzay Fatima, a 24-year-old Lahore-based student who travels almost daily by train, told Xinhua.


Orange Line Metro Trains (OLMT) are seen in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 1, 2024. [Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal]

It's more convenient, time-saving and greatly benefits the public, she added.

Talking to Xinhua, a middle-aged man who runs a car-renting business said that the Orange Line reduces his commute time to work from 1 to 1.25 hours to just 45 minutes compared to other modes of transportation, including driving his own vehicle.

It saves time and money and offers good facilities. Also, it's neat and clean while local rickshaws are not clean.

The project especially benefits the poor people of Pakistan since an individual can travel from one end of the city to the other at a very cheap price, said Janjua, emphasizing its role in alleviating the economic pressures faced by people amid high inflation.

The punctuality of the trains is 99.99 percent while the operation chart has been fulfilled. The efficiency is 99.99 percent, and the operating indicators are maintaining the advanced international levels, according to the project's management department.

In this project, the Chinese companies relied on their rich experience of urban transit in China and combined it with local characteristics to carry out highly localized operations and maintenance, said Ren Xin, manager operating control center.

As per the management department, various difficulties such as large-scale power outages across the country, heavy fog, heavy rain and extreme weather conditions were mitigated through a collaboration of the Pakistani and Chinese staff. In the face of such obstacles, they achieved a safe and stable operation through the formulation of special emergency plans and close cooperation mechanisms.


A Chinese and a Pakistani employee check an Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) for maintenance in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 1, 2024. [Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal]

Highlighting the cooperation of the Chinese and Pakistani employees, Ren said that Pakistani staff are diligent in asking questions, respecting others and good at learning.

"When we communicate with Pakistani employees, the communication is smooth. When we give them guidance or teaching, they are also modest and accept and adapt to our teaching methods," he added.

Launched in 2013, the CPEC, a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, is a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport and industrial cooperation.