Islamabad: Pakistan Railways has successfully rebuilt a historic bridge that collapsed during last year’s floods, reconnecting Balochistan’s capital city of Quetta with the rest of the country via train after nearly eight months.
The Hirak Bridge, first constructed in 1888, was destroyed in August 2022 during the devastating floods that killed over 1,700 people and affected more than 33 million people across the country.
The reconstruction of the railway bridge commenced in September last year. Pakistan Railways and the National Logistics Cell jointly built the bridge at the cost of Rs 656 million ($2.3 million), according to railway officials.
Restoring the rail link between Quetta and the rest of the country was a significant milestone for Pakistan Railways, given the historical significance of the bridge and the difficult terrain of Balochistan. Railways Divisional Superintendent (DS) Fareed Ahmed told reporters at the Quetta railway station that the bridge restoration was “a challenging task due to its location in a mountainous area.”
In November last year, Pakistan Railways partially restored train services between Mach and Rawalpindi, but the passengers had to travel to Mach, located some 60km away from Quetta, by road to board the trains as the Quetta railway link remained disconnected.
On Saturday, a Peshawar-bound train, Jaffar Express, left the Quetta railway station, with more than 300 passengers headed to different cities in the Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Balochistan Governor Malik Abdul Wali Khan Kakar was at the Quetta Railway Station to welcome the passengers as the train service was resumed.
With services restored, people across the province now have access to cheap and safe travel facilities. The resumption of rail services just before Eid has been appreciated by the locals, who can now use the train service to make the journey to their hometowns to be with their families during the Eid holidays.
Travellers have also requested the railway authorities to resume train services to Karachi, Lahore, and Faisalabad, as train travel is considered the cheapest and most comfortable mode of transportation in Pakistan.