ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways is all set for branding several passenger trains and railway platforms across the country to transform itself into a profitable organization and make it a profitable department.
“Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique has already directed the concerned authorities to present a new revenue model regarding the branding of trains and platforms,” an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP.
He said the branding of the trains and platforms would not only address the increasing deficit of Pakistan Railways but also allow private firms to advertise their products to improve the financial health of the railways.
The official said that initially Pakistan Railways would be offered five trains for branding their seat covers, internal walls of the passenger coaches, and even toilets as a pilot project.
“The deficit of the department to decrease after starting this project and the minister has already directed the concerned to complete all the formalities in this regard as soon as possible,” he added.
About the concentration on core activities, he said that Pakistan Railways has prepared a business plan in January 2023 to increase its revenue and reduce expenditure through improved governance. The plan is being implemented in letter and spirit.
The recent initiatives towards digitization in form of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Railway Automated Booking and Travel Assistance (RABTA) also aim to increase efficiency and reduced the revenue expenditure gap, he added.
He said the department has restarted its premium train service Green Line from January 2023 and the train consists of new Chinese coaches imported recently equipped with infotainment services like LEDs, Wi-Fi and public address systems.
Pakistan Railways is also importing 230 passenger coaches from China, out of these 46 coaches have arrived from China while the rest of the coaches would be assembled in the country through Transfer of Technology (ToT).
Regarding the emphasis on revenue generation through non-core activities, he said that Pakistan Railways recently presented a business plan to the Supreme Court and successfully pleaded before the court to allow the department to utilize its land for the generation of economic activities and thereby ensure revenue for itself.
He said that some other avenues were also being explored to improve the department’s revenue potential, including the business potential through laying optical fibre cable along the railway tracks.