Railway Minister Piyush Goyal recently clarified in a tweet that the current services of the Railways will continue to operate and that there is no move to privatise it. The tweet was in response to the criticism from opposition parties after the Government announced its plans to allow private companies to run trains on its routes.
The Ministry has clarified that 151 trains run by private operators will be introduced on 109 routes where there are demands for additional services, and will not affect existing trains. The Ministry has already invited a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from private players. If things proceed as per plans, passengers may be able to board private trains by April 2023.
The project is expected to bring in private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crores. A majority of these trains will be made under the Make in India initiative and private operators will have to pay fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in gross revenue determined through the bidding process.
These private trains will be high-speed ones designed for a maximum of 160 km/hr, comparable to the likes of Tejas, Rajdhani and Vande Bharat. More than two dozen Indian and global players, including Tata Realty and Infrastructure,