Domestic, International Firms Line Up In Response To Indian Railways’ Push For Private Passenger Train Operations

Domestic, International Firms Line Up In Response To Indian Railways’ Push For Private Passenger Train OperationsRailway Minister Piyush Goyal inspecting Train 18 (Source: Photo by Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Major Indian and foreign firms have lined up, showing interest in the Indian Railways' push to rope in private players for the running of 151 trains on 109 routes across the national track grid, reports Business Standard.

Several Indian players which have shown interest include Tata Group, Adani Group, low-cost airliner IndiGo, Delhi based RK Associates & Hoteliers, and online travel and tourism major MakeMyTrip.

Meanwhile, foreign firms which have shown interest include, among others, Miami based Norwegian Cruise Line, which is the world's third-largest cruise line operator in terms of the number of passengers.

In total, 26 companies had taken part in the pre-RFQ stage meeting of interested players organised by the Indian Railways which include names like Bharat Forge, Essel group, Mitsui & Company, GatewayRail Freight, KEC International, Thoth Infrastructure, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, CAF India, I Squared Capital, Equis Funds Group, Macquarie Group, GATX Corporation, Brindavan Food Products and Confirmtkt.

In addition to these, a stream of manufacturers and service providers had also attended the meeting to make the most of the opportunity unleashed by the Government's bid to allow private train operations. The included Bombardier Transportation, Alstom Transport, Siemens, Hyundai Rotem, Talgo, Hitachi India and South Asia, Medha Servo Drives, CRRC Zelc, and BEML.

Earlier, the Indian Railways formally kick-started process to allow private players to operate passenger trains with the state transporter floating the request for qualifications (RFQs) seeking private investment of about Rs 30,000 crore. This is the first-of- its-kind initiative in the Indian rail sector.

The ambitious move entails private players to operate passenger services over 109 routes across the country, and has the potential to herald state-of-the-art technology in train operation.

Spread over 12 clusters, there would be about 151 new-age trains with modern amenities, and which would ply on 109 identified destinations. Mumbai, Delhi, Howrah, Patna, Jaipur, Chennai, Prayagraj, Secunderabad, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru are major clusters for which the players are keen to run 16-coach trains.

A day after inviting the request for qualifications (RFQ) from private entities for running 151 trains on 109 pairs of routes, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav on Thursday (Jul 2) said the private train operations would begin by April 2023 and the fares in these trains would be competitive with air fares on similar routes.

Here is a full list of arrival, departure times, days of running of proposed private Trains.

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