Friday, September 28, 2007

New life in Lahore Rapid Mass Transit (LRMT) Rail Project

The chief minister of Punjab Ch. Parvez Ilahi announced on 26-sep-07 that the Lahore subway train project will be started after Eid (14 oct). Many train lines are proposed to be built. The first line is the Green line covering 27km area from Shahdara to Hamza Chowk. This line will take 3.5 years to build and cost around 3 billion dollars. The original plan estimated the completion date in 2012 but the authorities want it to be built till 2011 before the World Cup.

You can find a lot of information about the project on the website: and in a forum thread at:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Flying with Mahan Air through Tehran

Last month I travelled on Mahan Air through Tehran. Mahan Air is a private airline of Iran having 24 planes and flying to 27 destinations. I was very cautious about it based on rumours but had no other option. It didn't fly from Frankfurt, but from Duesseldorf instead. They gave a train ticket so I took the journey of 4 hours to reach that city. Duesseldorf Airport is also a nice airport with landing/take-off viewing platforms. The train station is on one end of the runway and hence a hanging sky-train takes visitors between the terminals, the parking and the train stations. The plane from Germany to Iran was surprisingly smaller than the one from Iran to Lahore. They had far more newspapers than Gulf and Emirates Air. They also offered passengers coffee-toffees once on board. The flight was smooth and we were offered standard drinks and food. They presented kids models of aircrafts. We landed on the new airport of Tehran, the Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Before landing into Tehran for a plane-change, the pilot requested the women to dress properly according to Islam as required by law, even at the airport. They then presented all of the women pink long-shirts and white head-scarfs. It was fun to see European women wearing these nice modest clothes on the airport. Exiting the plane, they gave everyone a small box of pistachios. Once in the airport they gave us our next boarding cards and also coupons for a free burger/cake and a free drink. This was uniquely generous considering we had a stay of only two hours. Then we went to buy sweets from there. The first sweet-box I saw costed some 50,000 Rials. Their currency is extremely devalued and a Euro is equivalent to about 12,500 Rials. They had made very beautiful shapes filled with dry-fruit. The flight to Lahore was even more peaceful so that I slept and missed the meals. They always presented their own carbonated drinks similar to Coke, Sprite and Fanta. All food items were also made in Iran. The return flight was also ok except there was a delay at Tehran airport of about two hours which is normal with cheap airlines. Thank ALlah that I caught the last train to my city in time.