Private players to be allowed to lease, buy train coaches soon

In a bid to revive the pandemic hit tourism sector, the Indian Railways (IR) is planning to spread rail based tourism by allowing interested private parties to lease or buy coach stock for five years to run them as theme based cultural, religious and other Tourist Circuit train.

An official communique released by Press Information Bureau (PIB) on Saturday stated that the move is in the direction to tap the potential of tourism sector and to leverage the core strengths of the professionals of tourism sector in tourism activities like marketing, hospitality, integration of services, reach with customer base, expertise in development/identification of tourist circuits etc.

An Executive Director level committee has been constituted by Ministry of Railways to formulate the policy and terms and conditions, it informed.

The statement also listed broad feature of the proposed model, which will include: Leasing of coaches or bare shells will be done as per desired configuration of interested parties for 5 years and extendable till codal life of coaches with outright purchase of coaches along with minor refurbishment for all three options allowed.

“Minimum train composition for leasing purpose will be done as per policy guidelines and the interested party will have to develop or decide a business model with details of routes, itinerary, tariff etc,” the release added.

The Indian Railways will levy haulage charges, nominal stabling charges and lease charges for leasing of coaches or bare shells, but not in the case of outright purchase of coaches, the statement said, adding that a simple registration process will be required for interested parties based on eligibility criteria.

Priority will be given to punctuality, timely approvals for coach refurbishment and itineraries and third party advertising will be allowed inside the train given that branding is permitted by Railway authorities.