Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) (Urdu: کراچی سرکلر ریلوے ) is a revival and proposed Mass Rapid Transit System for Karachi with aims to connect several industrial and commercial districts within the city to the outlying suburbs. Plans have been in the offing for the revival the KCR since 1999, but nothing has happened on the ground.
In December 2005 the Japan International Cooperation Agency agreed to a soft loan of $1.5 billion to revive 50 kilometres of KCR track. The cost of project has been revised and estimates to $2.5 billion on August 2012.
KCR project is still delayed due to bureaucratic hurdles.
The Karachi Circular Railway began operation in 1969 through Pakistan Railways with the aim of providing better transportation facilities to Karachi and the surrounding suburbs. The original KCR line extended from Drigh Road Station and ended at Karachi City Station carrying 6 million passengers annually.
The KCR was in instant success and made a significant profit in its first year of operation. During the 1970s and 1980s the KCR was at its peak with 104 daily trains, of which 80 trains ran on the main track while the remaining 24 ran on the loop line. During the 1990s, the Private Transporters of Karachi contracted KCR staff who became indulged in corruption. By 1994 the KCR was in incurring major losses and as a result the vast majority of trains were discontinued with only a few running on the Loop. In 1999 KCR operations were discontinued.
The result was instant gridlock on Karachi streets. In 2005, revival plans for the railway were initiated to fulfil the growing transportation needs of Karachi. The City District Government Karachi was already making plans for a revival and construction of a combined "Karachi Metro".
The KCR will consist of a loop line from Karachi City to Drigh Road via Liaquatabad. 29 kilometres will be revived with an additional 21 kilometre dual track from Karachi City to Jinnah International Airport, allowing the KCR to connect to the Pakistan Railway main line. The KCR is expected to hold carry on average of 700,000 passengers on 246 trains daily when completed.