Using the Pakistan Railway from Islamabad to Lahore in the year 2014 - and it has improved!


I realized we're all in this together when an elderly gentleman along with his wife and kids opens a suitcase and I notice it is tightly packed with clothes, medicines and some paper documents. I observe him carefully if he has any sign of illness but he looks fit.

At 6:45am My brother and I are at the Rawalpindi Train station, waiting for the 7am departure of The Subak Kharam, a train which is to travel from Rawalpindi to Lahore, more than 290 KM and approximately 4 hours away. I look around at my fellow travelers and put my glasses on. I needn't have worried; I fit right in. Couple of tea stalls on the station attract me to buy a packet a cookies ; snack for my way.

In the dark and cold cloudy weather early morning, the train looks like a green-steel serpent with a massive locomotives at the head when it arrives on the platform, vibrating and shaking the ground. It is so long the last coach disappears in the murk, a quarter of a kilometer away.

I rush to find the right cabin in which my seat had been assigned according to the ticket. My brother waves me good bye and i enter the Air Condition Standard cabin and find a window seat to enjoy the view throughout the journey. (Kooli coming in to leave luggages) I can here the announcement from the stations loudspeaker inside the train of informing the departure to Lahore on the given time. The whistle blows and the train starts moving. Late passengers run while their handbags falling while rushing that they dont miss the train and jump inside and here the journey begins! The same elderly man sits besides me and his family on the opp side of the window.The platform of the station finishes and we start crossing the railway Saddar road, Rawalpindi which seems to be one tarmac road with a several dirt road and dogs sitting besides. I wonder what life is like here in winter and receive a small answer when I notice everyone has been wearing sweaters and jackets. The ticket collector comes and asks for ticket and re-checks if everyone is sitting accordingly as per the assigned seats of the passengers. Beautiful scenery on way and started passing the highway. At 8:30 served with delicious meal; a sandwich + chicken piece+fries+ketchup. Enjoy the meal and then served with tea and cold drinks. Everyone freshes a bit after having the meal. The man sitting next to me shares the fries with his kids . Before reaching the next station the waitor collects the plates and charges 190rs for the delicious meal and collecting bills from rest of the passengers which everyone happily gives.

First station - Jhelum - 8:50 am,
whistle blowing, passengers from Jhelum hopping in. Can see couple of food stands and tea stalls offering garma garam chai and samosas. After a 5-6 min stop, the train continues its journey.  And here we approach the great daryae jhelum which is full of water and is a beautiful scenery..going on a high rise bridge over the darya...the view is so magnificent seems as if im flying over the water. The bridge ends and we are now Having a sneak peak of Jhelum seeing through the window, houses and their walls painted with various advertisements , restaurants and a main road passing next to the track.

Next station 9am Choakariala
Behind in the kitchen attached in the end of cabin can find the staff yelling at each other in punjabi language 'chai sahi tarhan kiun ni ditti?' in order to serve the passengers in a better way. Train at this stop standing idle and the kids in the cabin roam around to move their legs around. Suddenly on the next track a train passes by rapidly and the kids shockingly but excited watch it pass by. At 9:10 am the whistle once again blows and the train starts moving again.

9:24am Kharian. Cows nd donkeys ..water puddles, lots of eucluptus trees and seems as if it rained just a while ago ..mobile telecom towers...cross a sign board chak pirna..One could only see farming lands throughout the scenic view.

10 am Gujrat..A populated city..crowded railway station..and we start moving again..my seat was so relaxing that i dozed took a short nap and reached wazirabad station at 10:15am i could hear the kids yelling with excitement that we had crosssed the Chenab river 5 mins earlier.

The relaxing chair could not let me stop dozing and unfortunately i take a long nap missing the gorgeous views until i open my eyes at 1145 am that we are about to reach Lahore in a couple of minutes. The speed of the train slows a bit and hereby excited to reach one of the most beautiful historic city of the country; :Lahore.

Finally at 12:05 pm we reached the Lahore Railway station. The passengers rush towards the trains cabin exit. I thank the train cabin crew for providing a wonderful service in a 4 Hour 15 Minutes trip and i hereby finish my article, highly impressed with the Pakistan Railway with an improved and outstanding service making travelling easier from the Capital to the Historic City.

I thank the current administrator of the Pakistan Railway whose efforts are quite evident in order to have a perfect railway system which may encourage the tourists, youth and business professionals to use the train as a tool of travel as per their needs.

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