The infamous Orange Line train is about to go for a test run in Lahore today. The news was announced via Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif’s Twitter account, “It marks the start of a new era of the public transport system in Pakistan and will ease mobility of our students, women, labourers, businessmen etc.” The train, which has been controversial for its expense, has been under construction since October 2015 and is expected to become fully operational in May 2018.
The Orange Line will run between Lahore’s Dera Gujran and Lakshmi Chowk areas and will be inaugurated by Shehbaz Sharif after which he will be briefed on the project by various engineers and officials including Chief Engineer Lahore Development Authority, Mazhar Hussain.
The train runs a total of 27.1 km around Lahore’s major areas and will be able to transport 250,000 local residents. However, it has received major criticism within the government and from the public due to the allocation of PKR 93 billion for its construction. It is the highest budget ever assigned to a single project in Pakistan. It was also the center of a controversy when it was announced that Qawwali Legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s famous Sargam Studio was to be demolished to build the track.