Syed Ali Shah, Imran Sumalani, Nashad Baloch :
QUETTA, BOLAN, SIBI: A British-built railway bridge collapsed in Balochistan’s Bolan district after heavy rainfall on Thursday moring. The collapse of the ancient bridge built by English Rulers in 1880s caused the suspension of train service between Balochistan and other parts of the country.
Floods and continued heavy rain fall has wreaked havoc across Balochistan. “Train service has been suspended after the collapse of the ancient bridge”, Muhammad Izhar ul Haq, an officer of the Pakistan Railways told Daily Quetta Voice.
All passenger trains were stopped in Quetta and Jacobabad after the collapse of the more than a century old bridge. “Train service can resume after the reconstruction of the ancient bridge”, Mr. Haq stated.
The collapsed bridge is located between Mach and Kolpur at Hirak in the mountainous Bolan valley.
Work started on railway track in 1885 in Bolan
As per the history of the track and railway bridges, work started in 1885 by rapidly laying a rail track in the bed of river Bolan and finally a steam locomotive rolled into Quetta in August of 1886. The present day railway track through Bolan Pass is the third attempt of laying railways through the pass. In 1889 a torrential flood destroyed the track which was first laid on Bolan River bed.
Tourists from across the country used to visit this bridge and other ancient bridges built by the English rulers. The Brtish rulers had laid down the railway track from Delhi to Chaman to counter the erstwhile USSR. In the case of an attack through Afghanistan, the British had evolved a war strategy and laid down the track to move its troops and goods in railways via Bolan at Chaman.
Balochistan disconnected from rest of the country
Flash floods unleashed by heavy rainfall has also swept away bridges, roads, highways and dams across Balochistan. Road between Quetta and Sibi remained suspended after heavy rainfall. Deputy Commissioner Bolan, Muhammad Imran Bangulzai has asked the transporters and passengers to avoid traveling on the road linking Balochistan with Sindh and Punjab provinces.
The administration has also closed Quetta to Islamabad highway at Dana Sar after landsliding. Rains have caused the disconnectivity of Balochistan with rest of the country.