Railways will introduce the first set of 12 private trains 2023, followed by 45 more in the next fiscal, officials said. Formally kick-starting its plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains on its network, the Railways invited proposals from companies earlier in July to run 151 modern passenger trains on 109 pairs of routes across the country. The project would entail an investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
According to an initial timeline drawn by the Railways, it will introduce 12 trains in 2022-23, 45 in 2023-2024, 50 in 2025-26 and 44 more in the next fiscal. All 151 private trains will be introduced by the end of FY 2026-2027.
The request for qualification (RFQ), which was floated on July 8, is likely to be finalised by November, the financial bids will be opened by March 2021 and selection of bidders is planned by April 31, 2021, according to a timeline prepared by the Railways. Bidders quoting the highest share in gross revenue shall be awarded the project, officials said.
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"We have worked out a plan by which we hope to begin private train operations. Tenders will be finalised by March 2021 and trains will operate from March 2023," a senior official told PTI.
The railways has said that 70 percent of the private trains will be manufactured in India. The trains will be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph and it will reduce the journey time by around 10-15 percent at 130 kmph and around 30 percent at 160 kmph. The time taken by private trains shall be equivalent to or faster than the fastest train of Indian Railways operating in the respective route.
The private player will pay the Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in gross revenue determined through a transparent bidding process. The railways is expected to receive total haulage charges of around Rs 3,000 crore per annum from the operation of these 151 trains, they said.
These trains shall be operated by the driver and guard of Indian Railways.
The operation and maintenance of these trains would be governed by standards and specifications and requirements specified by Indian Railways.
The operation of the trains by the private entity shall conform to the key performance indicators like punctuality (95 percent), reliability (not more than one failure for one lakh km of travel), upkeep of trains and other necessities.
The Railways also has pre-specified penalties which will be recovered from the private players for failure to meet the prescribed performance standards and outcomes. Similarly, penalties will be pre-specified in the Concession Agreement for the failure on the part of the railways, officials said.
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