In a significant move, the Ministry of Railways has invited request for qualification (RFQ) for private participation for operation of passenger train services on 109 origin-destination (OD) pairs of routes through introduction of 151 modern trains or rakes.
The OD pairs have been formed into 12 clusters across the Indian Railways network, with each train having a minimum of 16 coaches. The majority of trains would be manufactured locally under the Central Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme and the chosen private entity shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operating and maintaining of the trains.
In a tweet sent from his official handle, Union Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal said, “This initiative will boost job creation, reduce transit time, provide enhanced safety & world-class facilities to passengers.”
The project would entail private investment of about Rs 300 billion. This is the first of its kind such investment for running passenger trains on the Indian Railways network.
In its latest April-June 2020 issue, INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY has examined how Asia’s second largest rail network has initiated a move to rope in private operators. The gargantuan network that moves 8.2 billon people annually is drawing interest, but there are enough obstacles that needs to be cleared and that can be done only when the government simplifies the way it works.
Modernising the Railways
The trains shall be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph leading to a substantial reduction in journey time. The running time taken by a train shall be comparable to or faster than the Railways’ fastest train on that particular route.
The objective of this initiative is to introduce rolling stock with modern technology to minimise maintenance, reduce transit time, boost job creation, enhance safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers and reduce demand-supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector.
The private entity shall pay fixed haulage and energy charges to the Railways as per the actual consumption as well as share in the gross revenue determined through a transparent bidding process.
These trains shall be operated by the driver and guard of the Railways. The operation of the trains by the private entity shall conform to the key performance indicators like punctuality, reliability, upkeep, etc. The operation and maintenance of the passenger trains would be governed by standards and specifications determined by the Railways.
The concession period for the project has been stipulated at 35 years.
For further details and cluster wise information one can visit the active tenders column of the Indian Railways here.