Not on track: No bids for operating private trains in Chennai cluster

The Chennai cluster of the Indian Railways has not received any financial bid for operating trains under public-private partnerships (PPP).
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

CHENNAI: The Chennai cluster of the Indian Railways has not received any financial bid for operating trains under public-private partnerships (PPP). The railways had invited financial bids for operating 152 pairs of private trains across the country under 12 clusters. After multiple rounds of discussion with the industry players for the past few years, the bids for PPP in the Passenger Train Operations project were opened on July 23.

The railways in a statement said it has received bids from both private and public sectors to operate 29 pairs of trains with around 40 modern rakes entailing an investment of around Rs 7,200 crore.  Of the 12 clusters, financial bids were received only for three clusters - Delhi-1, Delhi-2 and Mumbai-2. Nine clusters including Chennai which proposed to operate trains from various parts of the State did not receive any bids. A total of 16 trains have been proposed under PPP. While Chennai cluster proposed to operate 14 trains, Jaipur and Howrah clusters each planned to run a long distance train (to Chennai).

The companies that participated in the bidding had to indicate the revenue share with railways for winning the bids. The successful bidder has to pay the haulage charges for railways. The trains will be manned by private staff except the loco pilot and guard. The private companies will be allowed to fix the fares for private trains for 35 years.

“The entire tender process is being handled by the railway board. The Chennai cluster seems to have not received any proposal to operate private trains so far,” said a senior railway official from Southern Railway.

The plans to operate private trains which were proposed a few years ago gained momentum last year after NITI Aayog and Ministry of Railways framed a detailed  guideline for allotment of slots, ownership of maintenance facilities, terminals and rolling stock.

“Both public sector companies including IRCTC and private players can participate in bidding. The railway board may tweak the terms and conditions and invite bids again for Chennai and other clusters,” added the railway official.

16 routes proposed

Where will private trains run?

Chennai cluster

  • Tambaram - Madurai (Daily)  
  • Chennai - Lokmanya Tilak (Bi weekly)  
  • Chennai - Mangaluru (Weekly)  
  • Chennai - Tirupati (Weekly)  
  • Puducherry - Kacheguda (Daily)  
  • Chennai - Coimbatore (Daily)  
  • Tambaram - Tirunelveli (Daily)  
  • Tambaram - Tiruchy (Daily)  
  • Tambaram - Kanniyakumari (Daily)
  • Ernakulam - Kanniyakumari (Daily)  
  • Coimbatore - Tirunelveli (Daily)  
  • Chennai - Nizamuddin (Daily)  
  • Kochuveli - Lumding (Tri weekly)  
  • Kochuveli - Ernakulam (Tri weekly)
    Jaipur cluster 
  • Bhagat ki Kothi - Chennai (Five days )
    Howrah cluster:  
  • Chennai - Howrah (daily)

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