CPEC's Orange Line coming full circle of one year successful operation
by Yasir Habib Khan
LAHORE, Oct. 24 (Gwadar Pro) - On October 25, 2021 Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) completes its one year of successful operation. OLMT is Pakistan's first urban railway system as well as the first implemented large-scale public infrastructure project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under “Belt & Road Initiative”.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar had inaugurated the operation of Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) last year on October 25, 2020 with fanfare.
During one year performance, its total ridership has exceeded 20 million. It has achieved advanced operating international standards with 90,000 train trips, covering a total distance of 12 million kilometers, with trip efficiency at 99.9% and a punctuality rate at 99.9%. Orange Line Metro Railway Project has 26 stations and track spanning over 27 kilometers long.
Most advanced mass transit system in Pakistan
With the successful commencement of Orange Line project, Pakistan owns the most advanced and modern urban rail transit system in South Asia. The corridor opened up the economic artery of Lahore that runs through the entire city fully optimizing the city's development structure. More than 12 million people are able to enjoy this innovative, efficient, and safe transportation service.
Since the inception of the project, the China-Pakistan team of O&M JV has made every effort to ensure the smooth operation and maintenance of Orange Line Metro Train, and it has withstood numerous challenges like the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, frequent power fluctuation and long-term heavy foggy weather.
High-quality employment and earnestly benefit the locals
Orange Line project, taking advantage of the corridor's large-scale infrastructure, produced around 7,000 jobs for local engineers, construction workers, and other laborers during the construction phase. It has created more than 1,300 brand new and permanent jobs in the local market after its operation. More than 2000 jobs were being created in various other related services, like ticketing, security, cleaning, and other areas. It has assisted the locals in solving employment problems by effectively expanding the employment space for local management and technical talent.
Establishing Pakistan's modern rail transit system and imparting professional skills
In order to promote and develop Pakistan's infrastructure construction industry, while using Chinese technology and Chinese standards, all civil engineering works were carried out by local civil construction companies. During the construction process, China provided rail transit engineering construction technology, standards and experience accumulated by China over the years to fully build and improve Pakistan's modern rail transit engineering design and construction capabilities.
After the inauguration of Orange Line Project, O&M JV spared no effort to combine Chinese / international standards with the local practice to standardize the operations and maintenance work, therefore it prepared 60 operation manuals, 360 professional training materials, 560 operation regulations and 670 training videos, and has built a customized, standardized and comprehensive operation system of modern metro rail transit for local industry.
Chinese experts along with 1,300 Pakistani engineers and technicians kept on performing duties like daily inspection, periodic maintenance, fault handling, emergency rescue and other work. All local technicians were guided to learn technical knowledge and experience, follow the practice and standards originated from China.
After one year's careful guidance and training, 1,300 local employees have the ability to work independently, making the localization rate of employees of Orange Line exceed 97%. They became the first batch of professional technical talents for operation and maintenance of the modern urban rail transit industry in Pakistan, and will be the root to spread their knowledge and experience to a wider scale.
100% localized of front-line technical and operation positions
Through periodic and iterative training, 24 large-scale joint drills, and 150 daily drills, all 1300 local staff of O&M JV has been tested qualified by 2021, showing that the personnel localization has greatly progressed.
On January 25, 2021, 320 station employees were trained by Chinese experts.
On May 21, 2021, under the supervision and assessment of Chinese experts, 90 local train drivers passed the Independent Driving Ability Appraisal, since then all train drivers are local.
Nearly 530 local technicians were well trained after joining the project and are currently able to perform various equipment maintenance and emergency repairs.
Local talents are gradually taking positions like dispatchers and engineers which initially were mainly undertaken by Chinese experts. At present most technical work is performed by local employees, as Chinese experts are mainly focusing on supervision and double checking, and handling major and emergency failures.
Cultivation of local staff through continuous training and skill competition
In order to encourage professional and technical personnel in Pakistan to fully master the specific occupational skills, O&M JV continuously conducts training and drills and has organized 31 skill-competitions for more than 10 categories like dispatchers, train drivers as well as technicians of each E&M system.
After 10 months of fierce competition, 89 local employees stood out and won the "Outstanding" prize, showing the excellent technical ability and learning enthusiasm of Pakistani engineers and technicians. Under the leadership of Chinese experts, the talent of the local team has steadily improved their working skills and gradually become technical elite with excellent occupational capability.
Energy conservation and emission reduction, promoting the development of environmental protection and supporting industries in Pakistan
After the completion of the project, travel efficiency of the citizens was greatly improved, and journey of the entire route was reduced from 2.5 hours to only 45 minutes.
In addition, the operation of the orange line will also reduce the use of old cars within the city, reduce emission of gases, improve environmental pollution, and promote the green and sustainable development of the city. Orange Line Metro is driven by all electric energy to achieve zero pollution and zero emission. It is estimated that the annual fuel emission of gases will be reduced by 30,000 tons.
The operation and maintenance of Orange Line adopts the principle of localization. A large number of consumables, tools, equipment and services are procured from the local market, which has promoted the development of local industry and a number of local small and medium-sized enterprises.
This article originally appeared on Gwadar Pro.