Private trains to soon run in Tamil Nadu | Chennai News


CHENNAI: Southern Railway has completed groundwork to enable private players to run trains from Chennai and other cities in the state as the Railway Board is gearing up to select firms by the end of the month.
The financial bids for running trains, including on11 routes in Chennai cluster, will be opened by June-end. The project cost for Chennai cluster will be Rs3,221crore, covering around 1,052km, the highest after Mumbai.
The routes identified include Chennai to Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Kanyakumari, Tiruneveli, Mumbai, Mangalore, Secunderabad and Delhi. Railway Board chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday that railways was going ahead with the tender process and more than 10 players are eligible for bidding.
“We will open the tender in June and we hope to get proper response from the companies,” he said.
As the companies who were qualified to bid for the project in the request for qualification have already started to set up ties and to get rolling stock, technology transfer and other finer details, running of private trains may start running along these routes by end of the year or earlier.
The private operator will bring rolling stock, fix fare and run the train using railways’ crew. As per the arrangement, railway zones were told to identify stations, maintenance yard, washing lines, pitlines within existing facilities for maintaining the private trains or earmark land for the operator to build such facilities near the stations.
A senior official of Southern Railway did not reveal the specifics but said that the zone has identified all the required infrastructure like stations, maintenance yards or lands for private trains.
Sources said that Tambaram could be a terminal for south-bound private trains while Tondiarpet yard was being considered for maintaining private trains. Railways has started adding passenger facilities at Tambaram and has also recently modernised its yard which will also have an automatic train washing system.
Railway Board specifications said that an exclusive electrified line should be identified at yards so that the private trains could drive in and drive out without having to depend on railway-owned shunting locos.
Sharma said that a request for qualification was called and there were successful firms who became eligible and we called for a request for proposals and there is a day fixed for opening of tender.

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