Indian Railways steps up pace on private trains project! If all goes well, then in the next 2 years Indian Railways passengers will be able to travel in world-class luxurious private passenger trains.
Indian Railways steps up pace on private trains project! If all goes well, then in the next 2 years Indian Railways passengers will be able to travel in world-class luxurious private passenger trains. Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry has already held two meetings with private sector majors and various stakeholders and more meetings are lined up to take the feedback of the industry on the game-changing proposal. “We have already had two meetings with various stakeholders after NITI Aayog made public the draft proposal for operation of private trains on the network,” VK Yadav, Chairman Railway Board told Financial Express Online. “We have received feedback from the stakeholders and that has been incorporated, one more meeting is lined up and we hope that by March we will be able to finalise the contours of the proposal and invite bids,” Yadav said.
Financial Express Online had earlier reported that major private sector firms such as Siemens, Tata, Hitachi, Talgo, Adani, Alstom, Bharat Forge etc have expressed interest in running private trains on the Indian Railways network. The ambitious project is expected to require an investment of around Rs 22,500 crore and completely transform passenger experience.
Indian Railways in the draft proposal has listed out 100 routes for the private sector which will require around 150 world-class train rakes. While the private sector is allowed to bring their own trains, they have to meet the standards set by Indian Railways’ RDSO. Asked whether the new swanky trains will be made in India, Yadav said, “We are finalsing the policy. We would obviously want a Make in India component to the proposal, but it is too early to talk about the details”.
The finalisation of bids will take around 6 months and then the private player will be able to finalise the train rakes etc. “I believe that in around 24 months we should see private trains in India,” Yadav said. The private operator will have to pay fixed per kilometre haulage charges and additionally a share of the revenue that is generated from operating the trains.
Private trains: What’s in it for passengers?
According to Indian Railways, even with the existing 130 kmph speed potential, private trains will be able to save a minimum of 10-15% time, a big cheer for passengers. Meanwhile, Indian Railways is upgrading two important branches of the Golden Quadrilateral – Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah – to 160 kmph speed potential. The project is expected to be completed in the next 4 years, till which time the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors would also have been sanctioned, freeing up capacity for passenger trains.
The concept that Indian Railways is working on is “Trains on Demand” – the idea is to do away with the need for waitlisting on major routes with ready availability of trains. Private players will be allowed to charge market-linked fares for the premium services.
The private trains will have airline-style on-board entertainment services, local cuisines, high-quality food, and shopping option for passengers.
Similar to the IRCTC private trains, passengers will be compensated for delays and free travel insurance will be provided. The private train operators may also be asked to offer baggage pick-up and drop facilities.