The much-awaited tender inviting private players to run trains, a first in the country, is ready to roll after a prolonged discussion with some crucial modifications in the bidding document.
Now, the private players will have to pay Rs 512 per km as a haulage charge instead of Rs 668 as per the latest decision.
However, the haulage charge excludes the energy cost as the players will be paying it separately as per their consumption. The haulage will include signaling, track maintenance, terminal cost, transportation, and overheads.
Earlier rate of Rs 668 was inclusive of energy bill but now it has been separated from the haulage charge giving scope to the players to bring energy-efficient modern trains to compete with the operational ones, according to railways.
Besides the haulage, private players will have to share a percentage of their gross revenue collection on each train. The gross revenue includes total earning from ticket sales as well as other non-fare collection like advertising on the rake.
The revenue-sharing model, which holds the key, was finalised after a discussion with the stakeholders as the bidders will be selected based on their quotations.
Whoever will be giving maximum revenue to railways will be obviously the winner, according to railways.
The Railways will float the RFQ for the Rs. 22,500 crore private train operation proposal shortly, inviting interested bidders to participate in the race to operate 150 trains in 12 clusters spread over 100 routes across the country. The capital cost of the project is estimated o be around Rs 180 crore.
The routes are being selected based on the passengers’ demand. Those routes which have the maximum waiting list are offered in the bid Mumbai, Delhi, Howrah, Patna, Guwahati, Chennai, Secunderabad are major clusters of which the players will have to select to run 16-coach trains.
Some of the identified routes such as Panvel-Manduadih, Panvel-Kanpur, Indore-Okhla, Bandra-Akola, Jogeshwari-Tilak Bridge, Allahabad-Pune, Patna-Hadaspur, Gorakhpur-Jogeswari, Kanpur-Bandra, Parel-Kolhapur, Parel-Shirdi are in Mumbai clusters.
New Delhi-New Rishikesh, Faizabad-Bhatinda, Lucknow-Jammu, Chennai-Okhla, Bijwasan-Sabarmati, Tilak Bridge-Gomtinagar, Chandigarh-Sultanpur, Jaipur-Udhampur, Ambala-Allahabad are in Delhi cluster.
New Delhi-Central Mumbai, Howrah-Chennai, Howrah-Anand Vihar are some routes expected to be also in demand.
Initially, private train operators are expected to procure trains from railways on lease. But many operators will also prefer to bring their own customised trains in the long run.
The RFQ has also specified that no passenger train will be allowed 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after the departure of the privately-operated train on the same originating route.
Global players from Spain, France, Germany, the US, Japan, Korea and also China among others have shown interest in the private train operation, leading Indian companies are also shown interest in the race.
Private players are expected to introduce modern trains of 16 coaches each equipped with upgraded facilities which include better interior, comfortable seats, onboard entertainment, modular clean bio-vacuum toilets, good food served in overall better hygienic conditions.
Talgo, a leading Spanish rolling stock company, had already undertaken a successful trial run of its train between the Delhi-Mumbai sector two years back and as expected is also in the race. Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens, Hyundai, Hitachi and CRRC (Chinese) are other top guns who have participated in the pre-bid meeting and expected to enter the race.