As the Pakistani general elections come and go, the colonial-era Pakistani Railway system remains a fixture of Pakistani life surviving at a wobbly pace. Hundreds of working-class residents from Peshawar to Karachi board the railways fully expecting daily breakdowns and derailments from this government-run system.
The trains laboriously roll through desert and mountains, through land bound with anti-government extremism, tribal clashes and fiery politics as well as areas that are quietly laced with the worldly fashions of upper-class big-cities. The Railway’s few working engines take workers to the cotton fields along the Indian border where snake charmers are famous, then chugs through the salt air of Karachi. With meager tools and resources, workers attempt to keep the rails aligned for the mostly working-class Pakistanis who still rely on the railway.
Children in the slum-covered train routes play football with trash. No longer do people depend on punctuality from the railway system, now rife with corruption, that was once a source of pride for the country.