Indian Railways to allow private players to choose halt stations

This is a move to give them an easy and free hand to operate trains without many inspections from the government in small things. It will also help to cut the travel time of these trains.

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New Delhi (Metro Rail News): The Private entities who are going to be handed over 150 trains to ply on 109 routes by the Railways will have a free hand to choose halt stations of the trains they operate according to documents released by the Indian Railways.

The private operators will need to submit in advance to the Railways the list of such intermediate stations on the trains’ route where they are going to propose halts in advance. They will also have to provide the time in and time out at the intermediate railway stations, which shall form part of the train operation plan. This has to be submitted in advance and will be in place for at least a year, after which it can be revised, the same documents say.

The Railways has been reported to say that the number of such halts of the private trains will not be more than the number of existing halts of the fastest train of the Railways operating on such routes. The train operation plan submitted by private operators will also have to include the stations at which the water tanks in the trains need to be filled and also the railway stations, washing lines or stabling lines, as the case may be, at which the train toilets would be evacuated.

These trains are scheduled to begin operations by 2023. It has been further reported that the fare system of these trains will not be regulated by any authority and will be decided by the private players itself.

Bombardier Transportation India, Siemens Limited and Alstom Transport India Ltd are the biggest players of this process among 20 such other firms. The project is going to bring in private players to run trains is expected to gain private sector investment of around Rs 30,000 crore. The 109 routes have been formed into 12 clusters that will cover major parts of the Indian Railways network.

Indian Railways will earn by charging the private entity fixed haulage charges and energy charges as per actual consumption. The national transporter will also get a share in the gross revenue which will be decided through a transparent bidding process. As of now, the private train operator would need to access the Railway’s PRS (passenger reservation system) for management and distribution of its ticket inventory. For usage of such reservation system, they may have to pay a charge to the Indian Railways, as per the document.

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