Pakistan, Turkey decide to cut train travel time

Islamabad, Nov 2 (IANS) Pakistan and Turkey have decided to reduce travel time for a proposed train project between Islamabad and Ankara to 11 days from the earlier 16 days.

The proposed Gul Train project took a step forward Tuesday when the presidents of Pakistan and Turkey agreed to further upgrade it during a meeting held on the sidelines of the sixth trilateral summit in Istanbul.

President Asif Ali Zardari participated in the summit hosted in Istanbul by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and also attended by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

The project idea was first floated by Zardari last year to enter into a joint venture for locomotive manufacture in Pakistan for the special cargo train service, reported Associated Press of Pakistan.

President’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said it was also decided that after the successful upgradation of the existing track, the second phase of the project will be launched.

The second phase would include laying of a entirely new railway track in Pakistan specially for super fast goods train running at over 150 km per hour speed, he said.

A special logistics management company called TOBB has been formed and experts from the two countries will meet next month in Pakistan to take the project further forward.

The two test runs of the train carried out during the last two months showed that the trains covered the distance in 16 days and the project was feasible, the meeting was told.