According to a media report, the Indian Railways has selected 100 routes to run 150 private passenger train rakes.
With the approval of the proposal by the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) of the union finance ministry on December 19, the path has been cleared for the railways to come up with reform in engaging private operators.
The report quoted a senior railway official as saying that the railway authorities are likely to invite bids for the routes next month.
The official on condition of anonymity informed that the major long-distance routes identified for bidding include Mumbai-Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram-Guwahati, New Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Kolkata, Mumbai-Chennai, New Delhi-Kolkata, New Delhi-Bengaluru, Kolkata-Chennai, New Delhi-Chennai, and Chennai-Jodhpur.
The other prominent routes include Mumbai-Nagpur, Nagpur-Pune, Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam, Mumbai-Varanasi, Mumbai-Pune, Patna-Bengaluru, Pune-Patna, Mumbai-Lucknow, Chennai-Coimbatore, Chennai-Secunderabad, Bhubaneswar-Kolkata and Surat-Varanasi.
Some routes connecting New Delhi to Patna, Gorakhpur, Chhapra, Bhagalpur, Allahabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Katra have also been selected by the railway authorities to run private trains.
As per the report, 35 of the 100 railway routes will connect to New Delhi, 12 to Kolkata, 11 to Chennai, 26 to Mumbai, and 8 to Bengaluru, all metropolitan cities.
Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav confirmed the information of the railways identifying routes to run private trains.
The report quoted Yadav as saying: “PPPAC has already cleared the Railways’ proposal of inviting bids from private players to run 150 trains. The bids will be invited soon, maybe in 10-15 days. It will be a milestone for Indian Railways.”
The first private train service – Lucknow-New Delhi Tejas Express – operated by private operators, IRCTC, a subsidiary of Indian Railways, was inaugurated on October 4, 2019.
The second private train – Tejas Express – will be introduced between Ahmedabad and Mumbai Central.
It will be inaugurated on January 17, 2020.