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Old 10th January 2020, 14:50   #1
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Default Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

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Indian Railways has already got Cabinet clearance for upgrading the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes to 160 kmph and the routes identfied for the operations of private trains mostly fall on these.
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Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track! Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is moving ahead swiftly with its ambitious plan to allow private operators to run trains on the network. For this purpose, Amitabh Kant-led NITI Aayog has put out draft guidelines for discussion purposes with the various stakeholders. The Rs 22,500 crore project will be a game-changer both for the national transporter and passengers who will benefit from world-class train services. The private operators will be allowed to charge passengers market-linked railway fares. Indian Railways will provide track and signalling infrastructure and take haulage charges from the private operators.

Indian Railways has already got Cabinet clearance for upgrading the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes to 160 kmph and the routes identified for the operations of private trains mostly fall on these two branches of the Golden Quadrilateral. Private operators will allowed to operate their own rolling stock or trains provided the meet the standards set by Indian Railways. NITI Aayog has listed 10-12 clusters with over 100 routes that will enable private operators to run minimum 16-coach trains. With over 150 private trains on 100 routes, Indian Railways is hoping to reduce the number of waitlisted passengers as well.
Below is the full list of proposed routes by NITI Aayog and Indian Railways:

MUMBAI CLUSTER 1
  • Kalburgi Panvel Triweekly
  • Panvel Madgaon Triweekly
  • Panvel Aurangabad Biweekly
  • Ajni Panvel Daily
  • Panvel Chennai Biweekly
  • Pune Guwahati Weekly
  • Panvel Manduadih Daily
  • Panvel Kanpur Daily
MUMBAI CLUSTER 2
  • Mumbai Central New Delhi Daily
  • Jogeshwari Tilak Bridge Daily
  • Dadar Vatva Daily
  • Udhna Dadar Daily
  • Dadar Vadodara Daily
  • Bandra (T) Jaipur Weekly
  • Indore Okhla Daily
  • Bandra (T) Akola Triweekly
  • Udhna Asansol Weekly
MUMBAI CLUSTER 3
  • Panvel Santragachi Daily
  • Hadapsar Okhla Daily
  • Parel Shirdi Triweekly
  • Parel Kolhapur Weekly
  • Habibganj Hadapsar Biweekly
  • Allahabad Panvel Weekly
  • Allahabad Pune Weekly
  • Patna Hadapsar Weekly
MUMBAI CLUSTER 4
  • Udhna Manduadih Weekly
  • Udhna Patna Weekly
  • Indore Danapur Triweekly
  • Allahabad Ahmedabad Weekly
  • Kanpur Bandra (T) Biweekly
  • Gorakhpur Jogeshwari Biweekly
  • Ajmer Jogeshwari Daily
  • Sant Hirdaram Nagar Bandra (T) Daily
DELHI CLUSTER 1
  • Anand Vihar Darbhanga Biweekly
  • New Delhi New Rishikesh Daily
  • Holambi Kalan Chheharta 6 days
  • Holambi Kalan Chandigarh Daily
  • Anand Vihar Katra 6 days
  • New Delhi Haridwar Daily
  • Faizabad Bhatinda Daily
  • Lucknow Jammu Tawi 6 days
DELHI CLUSTER 2
  • Okhla TCTB Daily
  • Chennai Okhla Daily
  • Tilak Bridge Gomtinagar Daily
  • Bijwasan Sabarmati Daily
  • Anand Vihar Bhagalpur Weekly
DELHI CLUSTER 3
  • Chandigarh Sultanpur Biweekly
  • New Delhi Chandigarh 6 days
  • Ambala Allahabad Daily
  • Kanpur New Delhi Daily
  • Lalkuan Delhi 5 days
  • New Delhi Gorakhpur Biweekly
  • New Delhi Manduadih Daily
  • Shakurbasti Ajmer Daily
  • Habibganj Holambi Kalan Biweekly
  • Kota Nizamuddin Daily
  • Bandra (T) Jaipur Weekly
  • TCTB Jaipur Weekly
  • Jaipur Udhampur 6 days
  • Jaipur Kota Daily
PATNA CLUSTER 1
  • New Delhi Patna Daily
  • Gaya Anand Vihar Triweekly
  • Panvel Patna Weekly
  • Darbhanga Jogeshwari Weekly
  • Patliputra TCTB 5 days
  • Gorakhpur TCTB Biweekly
  • Allahabad TCTB Weekly
GUWAHATI CLUSTER 1
  • Guwahati Tilak Bridge Triweekly
  • Katihar Tilak Bridge Triweekly
  • Kishanganj Tilak Bridge Weekly
  • Barauni Anand Vihar Biweekly
  • Kochuveli Guwahati Triweekly
  • TCTB Guwahati Weekly
  • Secunderabad Guwahati Biweekly
  • Habibganj Agartala Weekly
CHENNAI CLUSTER 1
  • Tambaram Madurai Daily
  • Chennai Charlapalli Daily
  • Tambaram TCTB Daily
  • Chennai Coimbatore Daily
  • Tirunelveli Tambaram Daily
  • Tambaram Tiruchchirapalli Daily
  • Chennai Bhagat Ki Kothi Weekly
  • Kanniyakumari Tambaram Daily
Source: Financial Express

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Old 10th January 2020, 19:21   #2
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

At present we have two trains which are privatised.
1. Delhi - Lucknow Tejas express.
2. Mumbai - Ahmedabad Tejas Express.

Is Indian Railway heading the privatised way ?
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Old 10th January 2020, 20:59   #3
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

So the death of Indian Railways begins.

I always equate such changes to the way things happen in this country. You privatize everything - leave the functioning of even government entities to private corporations. Corportations take over, brutally cut down on all avenues where they do not make profits. Oh well. Guess this government loves capitalism.
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Old 10th January 2020, 21:23   #4
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Default Re: B'lore <> Mumbai desperately needs one!

They should have included the B'lore <> Mumbai route as well. This line badly needs some initiative to improve the service. It takes 24 hours now, to cover a distance of 1000 odd KMs where private bus does well within 18 hours, hence takes major portion of passenger business.

I wonder, as with B'lore <> M'lore BG conversion, there is a bus lobby holding against introduction of fast/better service between these 2 major metros. The growth potential is immense, if they could fasten the travel with less number of 'stops' and also NOT running the service via the longer routing of AP/T'gana, as it is done now.
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Old 10th January 2020, 22:21   #5
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

I am really worried for the Indian Railways going privatised. The current Tejas express between Lucknow and Delhi is one expensive train which offers service at par or only a little better than the Kanpur Shatabdi. I don't remember the exact cost of the tickets but for Kanpur to Delhi, while Shatabdi fares for Chair Car start at around ₹800, for the Tejas they start at around ₹1100-1200.

With dynamic pricing, the fares before 5-8 days of departure reach around 1300-1400 for Shatabdi but the Tejas reaches a good ₹2400-2500. I had observed these fares during 25-31st december this year when I was trying to go to Delhi. This in my view is very expensive when the Shatabdi is almost equally good and time of travel of both the trains is almost same. Also, the shatabdi leaves Kanpur at 6AM which is very inconvenient for travellers and the Tejas leaves at 7:25 AM, forcing travellers to opt for the more expensive Tejas.



Train Travel is sure going to get very expensive with the coming of Private trains, though they may give better service and provide more pleasant journey.
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Old 10th January 2020, 22:42   #6
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

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Originally Posted by Candy$Cars View Post
Train Travel is sure going to get very expensive with the coming of Private trains, though they may give better service and provide more pleasant journey.
Didn't really happen with air travel, did it? In fact, increased competition made it more affordable. Imagine if our only option was Air India?

I feel this might be a good step for us consumers. Its been a few years since i travelled in a train, and I really don't see them offering any value these days - for the sector i regularly travel. Most of the time, 3AC/2AC ticket rates are comparable to the flight options for our sector, and the convenience and hospitality differences seal the deal.
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Old 10th January 2020, 23:21   #7
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

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Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
So the death of Indian Railways begins.

I always equate such changes to the way things happen in this country. You privatize everything - leave the functioning of even government entities to private corporations. Corportations take over, brutally cut down on all avenues where they do not make profits. Oh well. Guess this government loves capitalism.
Don't you think it's better to avoid political statements in the forum, your views may not match others', and will ruin the atmosphere of this forum.
Like crazydriver said, the case of airlines in India is an example privatisation can work. How will you corroborate your statement with regard to that?
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Old 11th January 2020, 00:51   #8
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

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Don't you think it's better to avoid political statements in the forum, your views may not match others', and will ruin the atmosphere of this forum.
Like crazydriver said, the case of airlines in India is an example privatisation can work. How will you corroborate your statement with regard to that?
+1. Posts with political undertones are best avoided.

Privatization helps in most of the business cases. The best example would be telecom space, where earlier one had, wait-list for phones and now one can get it on-demand and at one's own price point.

The private players might be able to bring down the price of the service also by making up with volumes. Its NOT always, privatization leads to increased prices for the consumer.
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Old 11th January 2020, 03:48   #9
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

The thread shouldn't be about commenting on someone's views. To each his own.

I fear two things:
1. Price- might be unaffordable to many folks. Traveling in AC Tier 3 is big deal to many. Private trains should be introduced only when most of the population can afford them
2. Safety- I hope there'll be no corners cut in safety to make profits. My argument is useless as the safety record of our railways is abysmal
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Old 11th January 2020, 04:33   #10
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

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Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
The thread shouldn't be about commenting on someone's views. To each his own.

I fear two things:
1. Price- might be unaffordable to many folks. Traveling in AC Tier 3 is big deal to many. Private trains should be introduced only when most of the population can afford them
2. Safety- I hope there'll be no corners cut in safety to make profits. My argument is useless as the safety record of our railways is abysmal
I would also fear loss of connectivity to small villages where we do not have a lot of rich people. The trains would either not stop there if the village is already on the route, or trains would simply get cancelled if that route is not profitable - thereby cutting off remote villages/tribes completely.

I see this as being very similar to postal services. I am sure it costs a lot more to deliver a letter to a village in western ghats, compared to a house in our cities. If postal department was replaced by FedEx the costs would be based on zip code. Capitalists would call that fair. The counter point is that connectivity is a basic need that the govt. needs to provide to every citizen at a fair price.

Our village does not have a good college, good hospital, or cold storage. Fast trains do not stop there, and there are no fast/Volvo bus services. How are we as a society going to get these kids from remote villages to higher education institutes, sick to the hospitals, etc. I think they will end up continuing the mass exodus into our cities. Our maid in Bengaluru, was a farmer with 2 acres of land and an own home. Fear of loss of crop, fear of price manipulation, fear of inability to get the crop to the big markets are real concerns for farmers. There is no one reason for a farmer suicide, but several complex factors. I am sorry to make a dramatic case using a very limited data set.

I still believe in free economy and competition, I feel it can work with solid regulation from independent bodies. If the industry regulators are allowed to be manipulated by the private companies, they will certainly maximize profits at the cost of the vulnerable. That needs to be a something we fear collectively. As a society we need to ask ourselves, what is a basic need? What are the needs that we are willing to let the vulnerable populace live without? Where it is alright to maximize profits.

Case in point - American high speed internet connectivity is not proportional to population density, but it is proportional to income. Low income neighborhoods do not have any high speed internet providers. How are these schools going to survive when we took text books away and put everything online? They are essentially cut off.
https://arstechnica.com/information-...higher-speeds/

Last edited by GutsyGibbon : 11th January 2020 at 04:37.
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Old 11th January 2020, 04:53   #11
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

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I would also fear loss of connectivity to small villages where we do not have a lot of rich people. The trains would either not stop there if the village is already on the route, or trains would simply get cancelled if that route is not profitable...
This may not be a problem like it is in the USA as privatization is only proposed on certain routes in India. Trains are the only source of connection for villages. Politicians will lobby against complete privatization as they can't afford to lose their main vote banks.

On the whole, agree with you as the USA is facing the effects of extreme capitalism you've highlighted.
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Old 11th January 2020, 08:54   #12
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

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Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Didn't really happen with air travel, did it? In fact, increased competition made it more affordable. Imagine if our only option was Air India?

I feel this might be a good step for us consumers. Its been a few years since i travelled in a train, and I really don't see them offering any value these days - for the sector i regularly travel. Most of the time, 3AC/2AC ticket rates are comparable to the flight options for our sector, and the convenience and hospitality differences seal the deal.
Well said!!

Add to that, every single train, atleast the ones mentioned in the Chennai outbound routes, are always super crowded, limited seats/berths, especially to Coimbatore & Madurai.

Really welcome this move. Only concern being the lobbyist should not influence govt policies to their favor. As long as citizen's interests are on top priority in law, we can see a good economy
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Old 11th January 2020, 09:33   #13
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

The Indian Railways was once the pride of the nation much like the Indian Army continues to be. A long line of second rate politicians and bureaucrats ran the organization down. As a consequence the quality of service and cost of service has dropped continuously since the 1960s. I am glad that over the last few years efforts are being made to rehabilitate not only the Railways as a organization but also by bringing in fresh services to address the changing needs of the population and the economy. I doubt the IR will be fully privatized - a balance between public sector and private enterprise is needed - and the Govt understands that. Private and public sectors will co-habit the Railway service much like passenger services on roadways. Competition in airlines brought prices down and the same I am confident will be seen here.

Bringing in fast well run trains will also reduce the carbon footprint of business & holiday travellers dramatically. A vast swathe of the top 25% of our population have simply stopped travelling by train due to service standards. Punctual, clean (yes clean) well run trains will attract back a lot of travellers to trains. Better for global climate change. I am glad the Govt is finally tackling this disintegration head on.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 11th January 2020 at 09:36.
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Old 11th January 2020, 19:33   #14
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

My two paisa gyan: I like this initiative as I understand this will bring in better service, punctuality, hygiene and safety. Private companies will care equally about every rupee spent or lost on any inefficiency or theft, and every possible rupee to be earned with better service. Private companies working with government will for sure bring out best of both.

But, I am finding it hard to evaluate it with Airlines or Telecom. It appears to be apples with orange comparison. You see the manner in which these sectors were privatized or rather open to private sector is very different than that with Railways.

I feel it is better to compare the same with privatization of Airports. The government still retains an ownership of all privatized airports and has a say in management of the same. But with involvement of private sector haven't you seen a drastic development of services and efficiency improvements at airports? Delhi and Mumbai are now world class airports comparable to any other global one. Hyderabad airport is also a good one and so is Bangalore (except for its location which is a different issue). In fact entire Mumbai airport (both domestic and international) feels like a luxury hotel. Yes it lead to an increase in airport charges but we conveniently ignore the same for advantages/services that we avail.

In case of railways, I think something similar will happen as long as the intentions are good. So the railways might continue to operate on remote/loss making routes/stations.

Last edited by sunilch : 11th January 2020 at 19:35.
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Old 11th January 2020, 23:35   #15
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Default Re: Indian Railways puts private trains project on fast-track!

Apologies if my point has already been made (I didn't read all the posts). I think privatisation is a very good thing IF we do it the proper way.

What's the proper way you say? Well, the continental western European countries have mostly got it right. Britain has got most things wrong. The USA has got it all wrong.

Privatization should be done with well thought and sensible regulation. We have to learn from countries who've done things right.

First thing to do is separate the rolling stock from actual track ownership. Somewhat like Network Rail in the UK who own the track & stations. Train companies only own license to operate on certain routes and also own / lease the carriages.

We also need to avoid the following pitfalls which the UK system suffers from:

1. they made the route distribution unfair (highest bidder wins all) so you end up with monopolies or duopolies. Lucrative routes are well served by many operators but some routes are starved of operators and, consequently, of investment.
2. allow operators to get away without having to reinvest in the track and station infrastructure. All operators charge huge ticket prices and they spend zilch for track upkeep. Network Rail (state owned) is burdened with infrastructure & maintenance
3. no innovation e.g. No high speed rail. No monorails and so on. Operators mint money anyway and they know their licenses are only for a certain period, so there is no pressing need to innovate or to think long term.
4. very high prices. This is a result of monopoly or duopoly. Customers have no choice but to pay if they don't want to fly.

We must encourage competition, innovation and wider track reach. I think there is room for premium long distance train services along with government run urban / suburban trains. High speed rail definitely needs private investment.

All that said, privatisation cannot be done in restive areas and sectors of strategic territorial importance. Say the NE or J & K. Also, India travels on trains. Planes, cars etc. are no comparison to railways in terms of reach. So privatisation must be done without diluting the affordable-for-all accessibility of railways.
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