Sources stated on Monday, that the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express is set to be the first train to be controlled by private players. It also hinted, despite objections from its union, the Railways is going ahead with its 100-day agenda of handing over operations of two of its trains to the private sector.
A second such route is being considered by the Railway Board which too within the 500-km distance range. The new time table for the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express was recently released while the train was launched in 2016. Annandnagar railway station in Uttar Pradesh has been decided as the current parking station which will later be handed over to private players after an open bidding process for operationalization.
The custody of the trains will be transferred to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which will pay for it, including their lease charges, to the financing arm, IRFC. A senior official said, “These two trains will be given on an experimental basis and we hope that within the next 100 days, we will be able to run at least one of them. The idea was to identify routes which have low congestion and connect important tourists spots. The second train too will be identified soon.”
Currently, a total of 53 trains run through Delhi-Lucknow route but do not have Rajdhani. The Swarn-Shatabdi has the highest demand on this route and takes around 6:30 hours. By the time of July 10, the IRCTC has been asked to finalize a proposal and submit it to the Railway Board following a meeting of the Member Traffic, with officials of the Railways tourism and catering arm on July 4.
It has been also stated by the Railways, it would float a Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ) in the next 100 days. However, the fresh proposal has been criticized by railway unions who have threatened large scale protests over the issue.