Trains on demand! Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways' plan to allow private trains on the network has generated a huge buzz in the private sector with several foreign and domestic players showing interest.
Trains on demand! Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways’ plan to allow private trains on the network has generated a huge buzz in the private sector with several foreign and domestic players showing interest. According to VK Yadav, Chairman Railway Board, over 25 stakeholders, including major private firms, participated in a discussion on the same recently. “Meetings are on with various stakeholders, the Request for Qualification (RFQ) is in public domain and NITI Aayog had invited comments from the private sector,” Yadav told Financial Express Online. “The comments of two stakeholders have also been incorporated. The private sector is excited about running trains on Indian Railways network,” he said.
Among the list of stakeholders who have attended conferences held recently, the prominent names are; Hyundai Rotem, Bombardier Transportation India, Talgo, Alstom Siemens, Adani, Mitsui, Medha. Indian Railways is hopeful that in two years time, the award for the first such private train will be awarded.
In a game-changing move, that is aimed at meeting increasing passenger demand, Indian Railways is inviting the private sector to operate world-class trains on its network. Under the Rs 22,500 crore project, as many as 150 trains on 100 routes have been identified in the first phase of the project. Most of the trains are on the busy Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes which are also being upgraded for 160 kmph speed potential.
As part of the initiative, the private sector will be allowed to bring its own train rakes, provided they meet the standards set out by RDSO. The operational inspection, driver and guard will be of Indian Railways, while the responsibility of train maintenance will lie with the private player. Indian Railways will also provide signalling and track infrastructure while earning haulage charges from the private operators.
Following the airline-style model, Indian Railways will give freedom to the private train operators to charge market-linked train fares, Yadav said. A regulator will be set up by Indian Railways to monitor the train fares that are being charged.