NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has received bids from IRCTC, a railway PSU and infrastructure major, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL) for operating 29 pairs of private trains with 40 rakes falling under two clusters in Delhi and one cluster in Mumbai zones with an investment of around Rs 7,200 crore.
The routes for which the bids have been received include Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Varanasi, Delhi-Rishikesh, Delhi-Sabarmati, Mumbai-Shirdi, Dadar-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Indore and Delhi-Kathgodam.
Officials said the process for evaluation of the bids will be expedited and the tender will be awarded soon. “This is an uncharted area for railways. A good beginning has been made to see such trains operating by 2024,” said a source.
Sources said while one bidder has quoted more than 10% revenue share with the railways, another has barely offered to share less than 1%. The bidder who offers maximum revenue share will get the project.
The railway ministry had invited bids for private participation to induct 151 trains (rakes) over 12 clusters through
Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Initially, there was a large number of responses for pre-qualification from private players and public sector enterprises. The bid dates had to be extended as private players needed more clarity and had suggested changes in the bid conditions.
In response to a Parliament question on Friday, railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the Rajya Sabha that existing passenger train services shall not be affected by the operation of train services through PPP mode and these will be in addition to the existing train services.”
“These trains shall offer services better than existing Rajdhani/ Shatabdi types of trains which will include improved passenger comfort, efficient air conditioning with automatic temperature and humidity control, superior interiors and toilets, friendly access to differently-abled (divyangjan) passengers, GPS-enabled passenger announcement system for onboard announcements for station arrivals, safety announcements,” Vaishnaw said in the written reply.
The national transporter has said the operational infrastructure such as track, signalling, Over Head Equipment (OHE) and stations will remain with railways and will be used to run these trains. The crew (drivers and guards) required for the operation of trains through PPP mode shall be provided by Indian Railways and hence the railway employees will remain a vital part of PPP in passenger train operations projects.
The List of Routes
Udhna-Bhagat ki Kothi