The Indian Railways is not only looking to invite private players for passenger trains but is also planning private freight trains in dedicated corridors. The Railways is fast-tracking the process of auctioning routes in the dedicated freight corridors.
Railways Board Chairman VK Yadav said that a railway regulator would be created before the rollout of private passenger trains in 2023. "Once DFCs are ready, we are planning to bring in private freight operators there. They will invest in wagons and containers. So, the regulator will have two mandates -- regulating passenger trains and freight trains," he said to The Economic Times. This decision for private freight trains was taken by the group of secretaries who weighed all the possible economic outcomes.
It must be mentioned that there are private container trains that have been operational since 2006 but in a limited way. However, no other type of freight trains have been allowed.
Earlier this month, Indian Railways invited bids from private companies to run passenger trains on 109 pairs (origin-destination) of routes, seeking an investment of Rs 30,000 crore. The concession period for the project would be 35 years and private firms would be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains.
"The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers, and also reduce demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector," Indian Railways said in a statement.