Tata, Adani, Hyundai queue up to run private trains

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In Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the Indian Railways is all set to introduce more private trains like the Tejas Express to connect tourist places. The Railways has recently proposed a mega plan to include private players in 100 routes across the country.

Indian Railways’ maiden attempt to let private companies run trains received a warm welcome among global and local players. More than two dozen global firms including Alstom Transport, Bombardier, Siemens AG, Hyundai Rotem Company and Macquarie have shown interest. Among home-grown companies, Tata Realty and Infrastructure, Hitachi India and South Asia, Essel Group, Adani Ports and SEZ, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) are also in the race to run private trains in the country.

1) Indian Railways has prepared a list of 100 routes for the introduction of 150 private trains across India. The 100 routes have been split into 10-12 clusters.

2) Mumbai-New Delhi, Chennai to New Delhi, New Delhi to Howrah, Shalimar to Pune, New Delhi to Patna are some of the routes where the private trains will operate.

3) Private trains running on a particular route will have a head start of 15 minutes on other trains running on the same route. “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,” the document said.

4) Each new train shall have a minimum of 16 coaches. The maximum number of coaches shall not exceed the longest passenger train operating on the respective route. Passengers’ trains are allowed to run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph.

5) The private entity will have the last say on deciding the fare on a particular route. They shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operating and maintaining trains.

Focused on developing new infrastructure, Budget 2020 allocated Rs 12,000 crore for construction of new railway lines, Rs 2,250 crore for gauge conversion, Rs 700 crore for doubling, Rs 5,786.97 crore for rolling stock and Rs 1,650 crore for signaling and telecom among others.

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