India's first private train to be on track by April 2023: Indian Railways

A big challenge before the Indian Railways will be the speed limit of 160 km per hour (kmph) set for these trains, because at present there is only one section that is fit to run trains at that speed.
India will see its first privately operated train running by April 2023 and the bidding process for this will be completed by April 2021, a top Indian Railways executive said on Thursday.

The national transporter had invited requests for qualifications (RFQ) from private players on Wednesday to operate 151 trains covering 109 routes that might see investments of Rs 30,000 crore. 

“We intend to start operation of the first private operated train in India by April 2023,” said VK Yadav, chairman of the Railway Board. These trains will be operated on a revenue neutral model.

According to the plan, the RFQ will be open till September and financial bids will be invited from the selected players by February 2021. “The bids will be finalised by April 2021,” Yadav said. “A majority of coaches used by these players will be manufactured in India only,” he added.

A big challenge before the Indian Railways will be the speed limit of 160 km per hour (kmph) set for these trains, because at present there is only one section that is fit to run trains at that speed. This year, the maximum speed limit for on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes was increased from 110 kmph to 130 kmph. 

“We have already sanctioned a plan to improve the speed of trains on all our routes in the next five to 10 years. For the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes, a plan was cleared to improve speed to 160 kmph at an investment of Rs 15,000 crore. The rest of the golden quadrilateral and diagonal will be fit for 130 kmph very soon,” he added.  

The Railways indicated that the plan to rope in private players came after an estimate showed that passenger traffic is expected to grow by 55 per cent by 2030. In 2019, the railways saw 8.4 billion passengers, which is expected to climb to 13 billion by 2030 and 18 billion by 2040. Yadav said this initiative is part of the advanced planning to meet the additional demand.

At present, the Railways is running 2,800 mail/express trains. “Over 95 per cent of the trains will still be operated by the Indian Railways and only 5 per cent will come under public-private partnership mode.



Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel