Top officials of the Railway Board Thursday met investors, developers and other stakeholders to finalise the modalities of its 100-day agenda of offering two trains to private operators, sources said. Among those present in the meeting were rolling stock manufacturers, officials of airlines, cruise lines and even travel agents, besides officials of Niti Ayog, Department of Economic Affairs and the Department of Logistics under the Ministry of Commerce, they said.

While one of the trains, the New Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express, has already been identified to be given to private operators, the railways is yet to finalise the second one, sources indicated.

As part of its 100-day agenda and the proposals made in the Budget whereby the railways has been encouraged to seek public-private partnership models to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services to boost connectivity, the national transporter is actively looking to find private partners.

Representatives of Bombardier, a leading manufacturer of both planes and trains, railway vehicles manufacturer CAF, propulsion equipment supplier Medha and airlines like Vistara were present in the meeting.

“We were invited to give them suggestions on how to initiate a private partnership in railway. We discussed the modalities, norms involved in the process,” said an official who was part of the meeting.

Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav and Member, Traffic, Sunil Mathur were present in the meeting, the sources said.

Representatives of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited, I Squarred India Advisors Private Limited, those of developers like Tata Realty Infrastructure Limited were also part of the meeting with the railway officials, who sought their feedback on the market interest in railways.

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Senior officials of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Royal Caribbean Cruises were also there to share their views on ticketing and revenue generation, especially non-fare.

The proposal of the Railway Board in its 100-day plan was to offer two trains to operators who would be willing to be part of the bidding process for rights to run private passenger day/overnight train sets connecting important cities.

The railways has said that it would float a Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ) in the next 100 days. The proposal, however, has come under severe criticism from the railway unions, who have threatened large-scale protests over the issue.



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