Dubai: ‘The Orange Line Metro Train' - Pakistan’s first metro project is set to start a trial run in Lahore from October 28 whereas the service will be partially opened to the public from January 2020.
The project will be fully operational by March 2020, according to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Usman Buzdar.
The Punjab Chief Minister announced the much-awaited launch of the project during a recent meeting held to review the ambitious project.
The chief minister said that passengers would be able to use the metro from January and that its fares would be very economical. Buzdar directed authorities concerned to expedite the work to make OLMT project operational to meet the new deadline.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to officially launch the project in March 2020. It was a project heavily criticised by Khan before he came into power. Former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had initiated the project in 2014 which was earlier scheduled to be completed in 2017.
One of the most advanced mass transit systems in the country will run on electricity, and is part of the big-ticket infrastructure investments by China. It had been stalled for two years due to several hurdles including a long running court battle over its proximity and impact on heritage sites that dot the provincial capital.
On the long list of issues that beset the project, the management has been struggling to secure the required power supply to run the transit system.
The delay of the project caused traffic chaos and massive pollution due to the incomplete construction work in the city that houses more than 12 million people.
The construction, which started in 2014, is valued at approximately $1.5 billion, out of which $1.3 billion was loaned by Exim Bank China while the remaining amount was funded by the Punjab government.
In May 2014, Punjab government had signed a project with Chairman of the Chinese National Development Reforms Commission regarding the construction of an Orange Line Train in Lahore.
The total length of the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) track is 27 kms. There are 26 stations with Ali Town and Dera Gujran stations serving as terminals. The track of OLMT passes through densely populated areas of the provincial capital.
The train service will have the capacity to carry around 250,000 passengers daily initially, while the capacity will be increased to 500,000 in future. Each train will have the capacity to carry at least 1,000 passengers.
The 27 trains will run at 80km per hour and cover a distance of 27km, stopping at 26 stations and reducing travel time from two-and-a-half hours to 45 minutes.
The Orange Line project at a glance
The project: The Orange Line Metro Train
Length: 27.1 km
Capacity: 250,0000 passengers daily