In a big policy shift, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is looking to offer two trains to IRCTC for operation on haulage concepts with ticketing and on board services.
Indian Railways to rope in private players for key train routes! Soon you may get to travel between Delhi-Lucknow and Mumbai-Shirdi on Indian Railways trains that are being run by private sector players. In a big policy shift, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is looking to offer two trains to IRCTC for operation on haulage concepts with ticketing and on board services, learns Financial Express Online. The landmark move has been proposed as part of Indian Railways 100-day roadmap that has been drawn up by the Railway Board. According to an IE report, Delhi-Lucknow and Mumbai-Shirdi routes have emerged as the frontrunners for this experiment by Indian Railways.
According to the report, while Delhi-Lucknow and Mumbai-Shirdi routes are top on the list of internal considerations by the Railway Board, Ahmedabad-Mumbai, Bengaluru-Chennai, and Trivandrum-Kannur in Kerala are also being considered. All these routes are under 500 kilometres distance, as per the policy decision taken by Indian Railways. While at present, the Delhi-Lucknow route is served by around 50 trains every day, the Mumbai-Shirdi route, which is a popular pilgrimage destination in the country, does not run too many trains and is the only route under consideration by Indian Railways that is not served by a Shatabdi Express.
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The capacity of the network in the 500-odd kms between the national capital and Lucknow is choked with passenger trains and goods trains, and currently, Swarn Shatabdi takes a duration of 6.30 hours. On the other hand, the 330 km long Mumbai-Shirdi route has two dedicated superfast trains, while other long-distance train services take a longer time. According to sources quoted in the report, there are two available routes to connect the two places and on both routes, feasibility is being assessed.
Initially, the official e-ticketing and catering arm of the national transporter, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will be given two trains to run. Indian Railways officials are hopeful that they will be able to operate at least one train within 100 days. The minimum specifications of on-board amenities, as well as the ticket cost, will be decided by IRCTC. The custody of the trains running on these routes will be with IRCTC and it will pay for the rakes including lease charges, to the financing arm of Indian Railways, Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC).