Source: Business Standard, Jul 02, 2020
First private train to be out by April 2023! Today Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav announced that the first private train on Indian Railways network is expected to hit tracks for passengers sometime in the month of April 2023. Yesterday, Request for Qualifications (RFQ) has been invited by Piyush Goyal chaired Railway Ministry for the participation of private players for the operation of passenger train services over 109 Origin Destination pairs of railway routes through the introduction of as many as 151 modern trains. According to Railway Ministry, the 109 OD pairs have been formed into a total of twelve clusters across the country’s railway network. Each of these modern trains will have a minimum of 16 coaches.
According to the Railway Ministry, the project would entail investment from the private sector of around Rs 30,000 crore. Interestingly, this is the first such initiative of investment from the private sector for operating passenger train services over the Indian Railways network. The majority of these modern trains are likely to be manufactured under the Modi government’s Make in India initiative.
For financing, procuring, operation as well as for maintenance of the trains, the private entity will be responsible, the Railway Ministry has stated. The modern private trains will be designed for a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, therefore, there would be a drastic reduction in journey time, according to the ministry. According to the national transporter, the aim of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced transit time, reduced maintenance, provide enhanced safety to passengers, provide world-class travel experience, creation of jobs, as well as to minimize the demand-supply deficit in the sector of passenger transportation. For the project, the concession period will be 35 years. The private firm will have pay to the national transporter energy charges as per actual consumption, fixed haulage charges as well as a share in Gross Revenue, which will be determined through a transparent process of bidding.