After the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan witnessed widescale burning of Government and public property. Pakistan Railways got its share of bad luck. On the fateful night of December 27, 2007, the locomotive shown in the photo below was hauling Chiltan Express between Quetta and Faisalabad. When the train was 100 km east of Jacobabad, near the Sindh-Punjab-Balochistan border, it got attacked and burned by armed criminals at Bakhshapur Station.
While the criminals did the dastardly act of burning the locomotive as well as the coaches, people of Bakhshapur including the local nazim (mayor) provided exemplary help to stranded passengers by giving them shelter and food.
What is special about the locomotive in the photo is that it was burnt so badly that it was declared scrap. The railway workers at the Diesel Shop Quetta however, had different plans. They won’t take any engine as scrap. They utilised their workmanship and rehabilitated the engine within just 10 days. This photo was taken on January 12, 2008 and you can see the rehabilitated engine hauling a train again. This exemplary ‘can-do’ spirit of workers at Diesel Shop Quetta saved the country almost 60 Million Rupees and deserved this space at the pages of ATP. All in all 14 locomotives were burnt across Pakistan and 3 in Quetta Division. Between 2 other locomotives that were damaged in Quetta division, one is still under repairs while the other one is already back in service.
Angels of Sarhari
While we have noted the damage done to PR infrastructure by criminals, we also want to highlight the help given to stranded passengers by local population everywhere in Sindh. Following cutting is from Jang Newspaper where people of Sarhari (near Nawabshah) Sindh went out of their way to help passengers of Hazara Express that got damaged at Sarhari.
Photo Credits: Agha Waseem
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