Indian Railways to give a boost to India’s tourism industry by leasing, selling coaches to private parties! In a bid to tap the country’s tourism potential as well as to leverage the core strengths of the professionals of the sector in tourism activities such as hospitality, marketing, reach with customer base, integration of services, expertise in development/identification of tourist circuits, etc., the national transporter is planning to spread railway based tourism among masses through leasing of coaching stock to interested parties. With this, interested private companies would be able to run these trains as theme based religious, cultural and other Tourist Circuit train services. To formulate the policy along with terms and conditions, the Railway Ministry has constituted an Executive Director level committee. Following are some broad features of the proposed model:
- Leasing of Indian Railways’ coaches as per the interested player’s desired configuration. Besides, bare shells may be taken on lease. Also, outright purchase of coaches can be done as well.
- Minor refurbishment of these coaches is allowed
- Leasing of coaches to be done for a minimum of five years’ period as well as extendable till codal life of coaches
- For leasing purpose, minimum train composition as per policy guidelines
- Interested private player to decide/develop business model (tariff, routes, itinerary, etc)
- Simple process of registration for interested players based on eligibility criteria
- Haulage charges, nominal stabling charges as well as lease charges will be levied by Indian Railways
Some of the other features of this policy will include priority in punctuality, no haulage for maintenance runs, timely approvals for coach refurbishment as well as itineraries, third party advertising allowed inside train, branding of train allowed.