The Islamic Development Bank has sanctioned a $140m loan to Pakistan to revamp the signalling system on its national railways.

Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said that with the installation of a modern signalling system, Pakistan Railways will enter into a new era.

“Most of the existing signalling equipment consists of old mechanical gear. The relay interlocking system installed in the 1960s at 40 stations has also outlived its normal life,” said Bilour.

The loan will be used to install an Automatic Train Protection system in 160 locomotives and finance the procurement, installation and commissioning of equipment, as well as training, project supervision, consultant and corresponding project contingency.

Work is expected to finish by 2012.