Pak Business Express

Pak Business Express trainPakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani inaugurated a newly opened Pak Business Express train in Lahore, on February 3, 2012, it is Pakistan’s most luxurious and expensive train.

Thirteen carriages have been lovingly restored into a sleek sleeper to ply the 1,200 kilometres (800 miles) between Pakistan’s two biggest cities, Lahore and Karachi, on an 18-hour journey that once used to take upwards of 30 hours.

For 5,000 rupees one way, or 9,000 rupees return, passengers are waited on by a bevy of attentive stewards, as they settle down to watch films on flat-screen TVs or power up laptops.

Afternoon tea and piping hot dinner — courtesy of chefs at five-star hotels are borne into cabins as uniformed guards carrying rifles in the corridors are a reminder of a country troubled by kidnappings, Taliban and Al-Qaeda violence.

Then as night falls, stewards come round with crisp bed linen to turn slightly hard green bunks into inviting beds.

It’s all part of a first private investment of millions of rupees in the ailing state railways, billed as the last hope of preventing a much-loved relic of British rule from falling into ruin.

It relies on handouts of $2.8 million a month just to pay salaries and pensions, and faces expected losses of $390 million in the current fiscal year.



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