Indian Railways mulls several key routes for its ‘private train’ initiative! In a game-changing step, Indian Railways is planning to offer its train rakes to private operators on an experimental basis. A senior railway official told Financial Express Online, "Apart from the widely reported Delhi-Lucknow route, the national transporter is also studying other routes for this path-breaking initiative". Financial Express Online had earlier reported that a Tejas Express train is likely to be introduced on the Lucknow-Delhi-Lucknow route as part of this ambitious move. According to the official quoted above, IRCTC will be handed over the train rake and the e-ticketing and catering arm will, in turn, invite the private sector to provide onboard services. By roping in the private sector, Indian Railways hopes to provide world-class passenger-friendly onboard services.
"IRCTC has been tasked with preparing a proposal on how this initiative of roping in the private sector for onboard services can be executed. The proposal is being prepared and is expected to be submitted to the Railway Board in the next 10 days," the official told Financial Express Online. As part of Indian Railways new timetable, "Trains at a Glance" for 2019, a Tejas Express originating from Lucknow to Delhi has been announced. While the first ‘private’ train of Indian Railways is likely to be the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express, three other routes are also being considered. "Not just Delhi-Lucknow, but also Ahmedabad-Mumbai, Chennai-Madurai and Howrah-Puri are being studied," the official said, adding that nothing has been finalised as yet. Some reports suggest that Delhi-Chandigarh, Mumbai-Shirdi, Trivandrum-Kannur routes are also being assessed.
Indian Railways big ‘private’ trains plan
Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways, as part of its 100-day roadmap, will offer two trains to IRCTC, which in turn will rope in the private sector for on-board services. The routes identified for this purpose will be under 500 kilometres and will connect major cities. The custody of the rakes will be with IRCTC and it will pay the Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) annual lease charges for them.
Tejas Express: A luxury offering of Indian Railways
Tejas Express, a more luxurious version of the Shatabdi Express, is an AC chair car service which offers several aircraft-like features to railway passengers. The premium branded train currently runs between Mumbai-Goa and Madurai-Chennai. Two other routes that have already been announced are Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Chandigarh. The train boasts of many special features and amenities such as; personalised LCD infotainment screens, leg rests in Executive class, personalised aircraft-style reading lights and attendant call buttons, automatic Venetian blinds on windows, swanky mini pantry, automatic interconnecting doors, sealed gangways, modular bio-toilets and automatic entry and exit doors.