File photo of New Delhi railway station
File photo of New Delhi railway station|IANS
Business & Economy

Private operators to run 151 trains on routes with heavy demand

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, July 9, 2020

The Indian Railways will allow private operators to run 151 trains over and above the existing services on routes with heavy demand.

The Railway Ministry has recently invited Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for private participation in the operation of passenger train services over 109 origin-destination (OD) pairs of routes through the introduction of 151 modern trains (rakes).

The train services by private operators will be allowed after a selection process. These trains will run on the routes where the demand for trains is already higher than the existing capacity.

The driver and guard will be Railway employees. The safety clearance of trains will be done by the Railways.

The 109 OD pairs have been formed into 12 clusters across the Indian Railway network. Each train will have a minimum of 16 coaches.

The project would entail a private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore. This is the first initiative of private investment for running passenger trains over the Indian Railways network.

The majority of the trains will be manufactured in India. The private entity will be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains.

The trains will be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph. The running time of the train would be comparable to or faster than the fastest train of Indian Railways operating in the respective route.

The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology, rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, for boosting job creation, provide enhanced safety, providing a world-class travel experience to passengers, and also reduce the demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector, an official press release said.

The private entity will pay the Indian Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in gross revenue determined through a transparent bidding process.

The operation of the trains by the private entity should conform to the key performance indicators like punctuality, reliability, upkeep of trains etc.

The Indian Railways network is about 68,000 route kilometres. In the year 2018-19, the reserved passenger volume was 16% (0.59 billion) of the total originating non- suburban passengers (3.65 billion). Almost 8.85 crore waitlisted passengers could not be accommodated.

The Ministry felt the requirement to introduce private participation in passenger train operation which will allow the introduction of next-generation technology and provision of higher service quality, ensuring use of improved coach technology and reduced journey time.

These train services would be operated on the Indian Railway Network where at present both passenger and freight trains are being operated on the common track. The major trunk routes are saturated and operate at near full capacity.

However, with planned commissioning of Dedicated Freight Corridors in 2021 and other infrastructural works, there would be the availability of additional paths for the operation of additional passenger services and it would, therefore, be possible to run additional services utilizing modern trains proposed in the current initiative.

The private entities for undertaking the project would be selected through a two-stage competitive bidding process comprising of Request for Qualification (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP).

RFQ process will be for pre-qualification and shortlisting of the bidders will be based on their financial capacity, who will be required to offer a share in the Gross Revenue at the RFP stage (bid parameter) for undertaking the project.