Indian Railways Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah trains may be run by private operators in the coming years! Indian Railways is eyeing the global model of allowing private operators to run trains on its busiest routes. Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav has said that the national transporter is looking to run private trains on the two extremely busy routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah at speeds of 160 kmph. He said that the plan is in works and is contingent on dedicated freight corridors opening and decongesting the existing passenger trains network.
PM Narendra Modi-led Cabinet recently approved the ambitious project to upgrade the two busy arms of the Golden Quadrilateral to allow for 160 kmph operations. The project involves extensive upgradation of the Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata railway network over a span of 4 years. Once the project is complete, private operators will be invited to run trains at 160 kmph on the routes, the Railway Board Chairman has said. Once the project is complete, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah trains will take anywhere between 10 to 12 hours – an overnight journey!
According to Yadav, several private firms have shown interest in operating trains on the Indian Railways network. The national transporter is likely to invite international bids for the busy routes, when the two two arms of the Golden Quadrilateral are upgraded to take 160 kmph speeds.
Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is looking to experiment with introduction of private trains on the network. As a first step in that direction, IRCTC has been given charge of two Tejas Express premium chair car trains. These two trains will run on Delhi-Lucknow and Ahmedabad-Mumbai routes and IRCTC will be fully responsible for onboard operations and ticketing. According to the Railway Board Chairman, the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express will begin operations by the first week of October. IRCTC has been given full freedom to decide fares of the new world-class trains and no concessions in ticket prices may be applicable.