Indian Railways to lease coaches for rail-based tourism

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 11, 2021

Branding of trains, third party advertising inside coaches to be allowed

Indian Railways is planning to promote rail-based tourism by leasing coaches to interested parties to run them as theme based cultural, religious and other tourist circuit trains, and has set up a committee to formulate an appropriate policy for the same.

The leasing is to be done for a minimum period of five years and will be extendable till the codal life (maximum service life) of coaches. Indian Railways will levy haulage charges, nominal stabling charges, and lease charges, according to a release issued by the Ministry of Railways on Saturday.

Potential for growth

The idea behind the initiative is to tap into the potential of the tourism sector and to leverage the core strengths of professionals in tourism activities like marketing, hospitality, integration of services, reach with customer base and expertise in development or identification of tourist circuits.

“Broad features of the proposed model include leasing of coaches as per desired configuration of interested parties. Bare shells may also be taken on lease. Outright purchase of coaches can also be done,” the release stated. There will be no lease charges for outright purchase.

The government will allow third party advertising inside the train and branding of trains for revenue generation.

Simple registration process

Minimum train composition for leasing purpose will be as per policy guidelines and interested parties have to develop their own business model including routes, itinerary and tariffs, the release added.

There will be a simple registration process for interested parties based on eligibility criteria.

Also see: A digital approach towards safe rail travel

The committee that will formulate the policy and terms and conditions has been set up at the level of executive director.

Priority will be given to punctuality and timely approvals will be extended for coach refurbishment and itineraries, the release said. There will be no haulage for maintenance runs.

The Indian Railways’ move to privatise part of its train running operations earlier this year by inviting bids from private players for 109 railway passenger routes failed to generate interest with bidders citing a number of problems including lack of route flexibility.

Published on September 11, 2021

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