Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav is helming the Indian Railways at a time when it is undergoing the biggest transformation. He speaks to Jyotika Sood about where the rail transport is headed.
Q) Could you elaborate on Indian Railways Private train business?
Most of the private operators would come in the premium segment. If they are able to take care of the premium segment, Indian Railways will be in a position to provide more services to the common man because we have our own limitations. At present, we are running around 13,000 passenger trains and in the next 5 years, we would require an additional 3,000 to 4,000 trains to meet the demand. We need private train operators to take some burden.
Regarding private trains, I would like to clarify that trains are classified into Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Mail, Express and suburban categories and there are clear guidelines which train has to get precedence. So, the private operator won’t have any first right of way and precedence for the trains – be it private or government-run – would be according to railway guidelines only. And 150 trains from a network of 13,000 is virtually nothing.
I would also like to point out that private trains would be run by loco-pilots (engine drivers) and guards from Indian Railways only.
I would like to point out that IRCTC business of private trains is drawing a very good response and occupancy is likely to increase more as passengers get accustomed to new train timings.
Q) Could you share some names of the players interested in running private trains?
We already have had two meetings for consultations. Some participants in these meetings were from Bombardier, Talgo, Hyundai, Hitachi, Adani, Siemens, I-Squared Capital, Equitas, Tata and Macquarie to name a few.