On Wednesday the government of Narendra Modi invited RFQ for private players for the passenger train service operation. The operation of passenger train services on one-hundred and nine Origin Destination pairs of routes through introduction of 151 modern trains.
Last year, in December, around 100 routes were picked by the Railways to run 150 passenger trains.
The Railways Ministry in a statement said that this project of the passenger train services operation would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
“This is the first initiative of private investment for running passenger trains over Indian Railways network,” it added.
The decision to have private participation in operating passenger trains will completely change the whole landscape of the railway network.
“Inviting RFQ is just like an expression of interest,” said a senior railway official. “The logistics will be decided gradually… Naturally, the private operators will choose their technology and determine the fare. But certain aspects like safety, time-tabling of trains etc. will stay with the railways,” he added.
Modi Government Moves Forward To Make Railways Private
“RFQ is the first step of the process, in which it will be gauged who are the parties eligible, whether they have the technical know-how or not, etc… After the RFQ, there would be an RFP (Request for Proposal), which can be called the bidding process,” the railway official said.
The ministry in its statement on private participation in the Railways said that in future majority of trains will be manufactured in India, and the financing, operation, procuring, and maintenance of the trains will be handled by the private entity.
It further said each train would have a minimum of 16 coaches and be designed for a maximum speed of 160 km/h.
Further, the ministry announced that the energy and haulage charges will be paid by the private entity as per the actual cinsumption.
Depending on the success of private train operators, the number can be expanded. However, he had clarified that the existing trains will continue to be with the railways, with operations staying with the transporter too.