July 8, 2020
Ministry has identified 109 origin-destination routes that will be serviced by the new trains
The project is expected to attract private sector investment of more than US$4 billion
Majority of trains will be manufactured locally, further boosting the Make in India initiative
Requiring less maintenance, the new trains will improve transit times, safety, and efficiency
The Ministry of Railways has announced the introduction of up to 151 modern trains, inviting private investment for the operation of train services, to meet the growing demand for train connectivity across various routes in India. According to an official release on July 8, the 109 Origin-Destination (OD) pairs of routes have been categorised into 12 clusters across the Indian Railway network, to assist private operators in running the trains effectively.
As the first initiative to encourage private investment for running passenger trains over the Indian Railways network, the project is expected to attract private sector investment of up to US$4.02 billion in the coming years. In addition, the project will bolster the Make in India initiative with the majority of trains being manufactured locally, before the private entities involved take responsibility for the financing, procuring, operation, and maintenance of the trains. The initiative aims to introduce trains that require less maintenance despite providing higher efficiency, in terms of transit times, safety, and overall travel experience for passengers. With sufficient private investment, the initiative will successfully reduce the demand-supply deficit in the sector, as well as result in more employment opportunities.
With its vast network stretching more than 115,000 km, Indian Railways is the third-largest passenger rail system and the fourth largest rail freight carrier in the world, serving 23 million passengers and transporting 3 million tonnes of freight daily. Recently, the railway sector in India has witnessed many active initiatives to drive growth with private and foreign partnerships. In December 2019, India had signed agreements with both the UK and Germany to cooperate on the self-sufficiency of the sector and the implementation of strategic railway projects, respectively. Meanwhile, through technological interventions and infrastructure development, the Ministry of Railways is targeting specific focus areas to improve the energy efficiency and operating efficiency of Indian railways.