Indian Railways on fast-track to allow private trains

Indian Railways on fast-track to allow private trains
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Indian Railways on fast-track to allow private trains

Highlights

  • Tirupati – Secunderabad, Tirupati-Varanasi routes to get private trains from 2023
  • It has received bids from public and private sectors to operate 29 pairs of trains with around 40 modern rakes

Tirupati: Indian Railways has been going at a brisk pace with its proposed concept of introducing private trains in the country.

If everything goes on well, these trains may be on tracks soon as the Railways has already invited bids and even opened them a couple of days back. Under this new concept, two sets of trains are said to be operating from Tirupati to Secunderabad and Varanasi.

In a bid to provide better amenities for passengers in some critical routes, the Ministry of Railways has proposed to introduce private players to operate train services in different clusters.

This will also avoid the railways to bear a heavy burden of making huge investment in rolling stock like coaches and engines with modern amenities whereas private players can provide these services on a competitive basis.

Onboard hygiene services apart from others are to be looked after by private players while safety and track maintenance rest with railways only. Accordingly, Railways has initiated moves to launch private train operations from April 2023 and invited bids from interested players.

These bids for PPP in passenger train operations project were opened on July 23 after a detailed exercise and multiple rounds of discussion with industry players.

According to Railway authorities, this is an entirely new attempt to bring world class trains through Public Private Participation (PPP) in the country.

The Railways has received bids from both public and private sectors to operate 29 pairs of trains with around 40 modern rakes entailing an investment of around Rs 7,200 crore. Now the Ministry has to complete the evaluation and decide the bids to take further course of action.

Sources in Railways revealed that two pairs of trains are proposed to be operated from Tirupati under cluster 9 which is meant for Secunderabad area. As per the tentative plan, a daily train between Secunderabad and Tirupati and Tirupati and Secunderabad will be operated with a journey time of 12.15 hours.

Another set of trains will run between Tirupati and Varanasi via Secunderabad with a journey time of 33.45 hours. This bi-weekly train will run between Tirupati and Varanasi on every Monday and Thursday while in the return direction it moves on every Wednesday and Saturday.

It was indicated that the racks of these two trains are to be washed at Tirupati station. The other private trains proposed to run through Andhra Pradesh include one set each between Secunderabad and Srikakulam, Guntur and Secunderabad, Guntur and Kurnool, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam and Bengaluru via Renigunta.

Now, it has to be seen which operator will take these routes to run the trains which will be known after the Railways finalises the bids.

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