Mysore/Mysuru: Very soon, you can travel in a private train from Mysuru to Bhubaneswar or take a private train from Bengaluru to Guwahati, New Delhi, Howrah, Jaipur or even Gorakhpur as the Indian Railways that comes under Ministry of Railways has invited Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for private participation for operation of pairs of passenger train services from over 109 cities.
From Karnataka, the Railways have identified the Mysuru-Bhubaneswar-Mysuru daily route along with 11 other routes. The Railways expects private train operators to start running passenger trains by April 2023, breaking a State-controlled monopoly in this segment. Private trains will also operate from Kalaburagi-Mumbai and Mangaluru-Chennai route.
According to a press release issued by the Railway Board, the project 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. A majority of trains must be manufactured in India under the Make in India initiative and the private entity shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains.
Private players in passenger train operations will mean modern trains running at higher speeds and private trains will constitute around five percent of all trains. The remaining 95 percent of the trains in India will be operated by the Railways. The private players will offer revenue share and a haulage charge to Railways. The agreement is for 35 years.
Trains shall be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour and as such there would be a substantial reduction in journey time. The running time taken by a train shall be comparable to or faster than the fastest train of Indian Railways operating in the respective route, the Railway Board note said.
The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers, and also reduce demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector, the note added.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, South Western Railway Chief Public Relations Officer E. Vijaya said that private entities will only be allowed to run some services on Indian Railways tracks, using existing stations, on specified routes, in already defined slots. “Existing passenger services will continue to operate on these routes as before, with same fare, same schedules,” she said.
“This is similar to private airlines operating their own aircraft, managing their own ticket bookings, services and paying the Government for use of common infrastructure like airspace and airports. Private operators will pay Indian Railways for use of railway tracks and other infrastructure but may use their own trains, maintenance facilities and staff,” she added.