In a bid to put rail transportation services on fast-track, Railway Board unveils its ambitious plan to allow private train across nations to run trains on the Indian Railways network.
The move is recently sanctioned by NITI Aayog and Indian Railway and has put a draft plan for an estimated investment of Rs 22,500 crores for discussion purposes with the various stakeholders. This mega investment plan will be a game-changer both for the Indian Railways and passengers who will benefit from world-class train services.
According to the plan, the private train operators will be allowed to charge passengers market-linked railway fares whereas Indian Railways will provide track and signaling infrastructure and take haulage charges from the private operators.
“No similar scheduled regular train will depart in the same origin-destination route within 15 minutes of the scheduled operation of the concessionaires (private players) train,” said in the draft document.
The Central government cabinet has already given its nods to Indian Railways for upgrading the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes to 160 km/h and the routes identified for the operations of private trains mostly fall on these two lines of the Golden Quadrilateral. Private operators will be allowed to operate their own trains as per the standards set by Indian Railways.
In this regard, the NITI Aayog has listed 10-12 clusters with over 100 routes that will enable private operators to run a minimum of 16-coach trains on these routes. Indian Railways is hoping to reduce the number of waitlisted passengers as well with over 150 private trains on 100 routes.