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Private Train Operations to begin by April 2023

Private participation in passenger train operations will only be 5 per cent of the total operations of Railways, said Chairman of Railway Board yesterday (Thursday, 2nd July 2020).

During an online media interaction on the subject of private participation in running passenger trains, Vinod Kumar Yadav said if any performance indicators are not met by private players in passenger train operations they will be penalised,

“Private train operations are likely to begin by April 2023, all coaches will be procured under Make in India policy,” said Yadav. Train sets have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them, he said.

“Fares in private trains will be competitive and prices on other modes of transport like airlines, buses have to be kept in mind while fixing the fares,” he further said. The private trains will operate in 12 clusters, including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Prayagraj, Secunderabad, Howrah, Chennai.

Private Trains to Bridge Demand-Supply Gap

Allowing private companies to run passenger trains is a step towards bridging the demand-supply gap in Indian Railways’ operations, Railway Board chairman VK Yadav said.

“We should be able to provide trains on demand for each passenger. We have been working in that direction. Keeping that in view, we have gone for this project,” Yadav said. More than 50 million passengers were waitlisted for train travel in the previous financial year, Yadav said, indicating the existing gap, which is expected to widen. The government estimates 13 billion passengers will travel by train in FY30 compared with 8.4 billion passengers in FY20, Yadav said.

“We want to fully meet our passenger forecast. Even after introducing 150 private trains, we will still have the need to introduce more trains,” Yadav said.

Yadav expects financial bids for private trains by February or March next year and expects to finalise financial bids by April 2021. Yadav said Request For Quotation bids will be finalised by September.

The Railways on Wednesday formally kickstarted its plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains on its network by inviting request for qualifications (RFQ) for participation on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains. The project would entail a private sector investment of about ₹30,000 crore.

This is the first initiative for private investment for running passenger trains on the Indian Railways network. It began last year with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) introducing the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express.