New Delhi: Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav on Thursday said 151 modern trains that the national transport has planned to start via public private partnership (PPP) will reduce the demand-supply deficit in the passenger transport sector. Such trains, Yadav said, would start operations April 2023 onwards.
Yadav clarified that Indian Railways will continue to run majority of the private trains, as there will be only an additional roughly 5% of 2,800 mail express trains that will be operating as private trains. These additional trains will run the busiest routes, where the demand is unmet or there are many waitlisted passengers.
“Want to provide trains on demand and we are doing work on infrastructure projects towards this," Yadav told reporters in a briefing.
On Wednesday, Railways invited proposals to shortlist bidders and allow private companies run 151 modern passenger trains, across 109 routes. Financial bids will then open by February-March 2021 and by April, 2023, trains will be operationalised.
The project would entail private sector investment of about ₹30,000 crore. These trains will operate in 12 clusters, including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Prayagraj, Secunderabad, Howrah, Chennai.
These modern trains will be manufactured in India and the private firm will be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains. The concession period for the project will be 35 years and the private firm will have to pay the fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in gross revenue determined through a bidding process. Railways will look into the safety measures of these trains, which will be operated by the driver and guard of the national transporter.
Yadav said that Railways will be able to recover the amount it will spend by levying haulage charges. “This will make us revenue neutral," he explained. Besides, there will be key performance indicators such as like punctuality, reliability, upkeep of trains, among others, for the private players. Not adhering to these will attract penalty.
Yadav further said that all coaches for these trains will have to be procured under Make in India policy. The train sets will have to brought and maintained by them.