While the New Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express has already been identified to be given to private players, the national transporter is yet to finalise the second train.
Indian Railways finalises details of India’s first ‘private’ train! Top officials of the Railway Board recently met investors, developers as well as other stakeholders in order to finalize the modalities of Indian Railways’ 100-day agenda of offering two trains to private players. According to sources quoted in a PTI report, among those present in the meeting were rolling stock manufacturers, officials of cruise lines, airlines, travel agents, besides officials of Niti Aayog, Department of Logistics and Department of Economic Affairs. While the New Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express has already been identified to be given to private players, the national transporter is yet to finalise the second train, they said.
In its 100-day roadmap, Indian Railways has indicated seeking public-private partnership (PPP) models to unleash faster development as well as delivery of passenger freight services in a bid to boost connectivity. The national transporter is now actively looking to find private operators for this initiative. The two train rakes will be handed over to IRCTC, which in turn will invite private players to operate it through an open bidding process.
The Railway Board’s proposal in its 100-day roadmap said that Indian Railways would offer two trains to private players who would be willing to take part in the bidding process for rights to run private passenger day/overnight train sets connecting important cities in the country. Indian Railways has said that in the next 100 days, it would float a Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ). However, the proposal to privatise trains has been severely criticized by the railway unions, who have also threatened large-scale protests over the proposal.
Meanwhile, recently it was reported that Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told Lok Sabha that there is no proposal to privatise Indian Railways. In a written reply, the minister stated that no specific passenger train has been identified to be run by private operators. While Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi recently said that further studies on the proposal are on and in the coming days, trials will be conducted.