The Centre’s move to bring in private players for the operation of 151 trains has drawn interest from major private players, including the Tatas and Adani Group, as per reports.

Earlier this month, the Centre had invited a bid to operate 151 private trains on 109 routes. This is 5 per cent of the existing 2,800 mail/express cluster across Indian Railways. The concession period will be for 35 years. The programme will be executed by 2023.

The proposal has garnered the interest of Tata Group, Adani Group, Alstom, and Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line. according to report.

Apart from the major conglomerates, private players in the travel sector, including IndiGo and MakeMyTrip, have also expressed interest, according to the report that cited industry sources.

However, IndiGo had termed it as speculation, while MakeMyTrip said that it was not considering a bid at the moment, the report said.

Previously, Indian Railways had called for bids from private players as part of its privatisation move in December 2019. This was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. In December, about 20 companies in the infrastructure and transportation business had expressed interest. These included Tata Realty and infrastructure, Adani Ports, Essel Group, Bombardier India and Macquarie group.

The current programme inviting bids for 151 trains is likely to bring a private investment of nearly ₹30,000 crore in the rail sector, as per reports.