India has the fifth largest railway network in the world where the Ministry of Railways, Government of India (MOR) manages and operates trains on the Indian Railway network. Despite the size of the network, there is a huge unmet demand due to capacity constraints resulting in loss of passenger business to other modes of transport. This has resulted in a critical requirement for next generation technology and the provision of higher service quality to ensure improved coach experience and reduced journey time.
With the objective of improving user experience, the MOR had been discussing the initiative of permitting private entities to undertake passenger train operations on selected routes. The MOR has taken the first step in this regard by issuing request for qualification (RFQ) on 1 July 2020. Till now, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (a Government of India owned listed entity) was the only private entity permitted to operate passenger trains on select routes.