National News

Railways to lease train coaches to tourism professionals. What you need to know

Indian Railways has is now looking at professionals from tourism sector to utilise its trains coaches for rail-based tourism. The national transporter wants to lease and even sell train coaches to private player for leverage their expertise in tourism activities.

The private players can run these coaches as cultural, religious or any other tourist circuit train, Ministry of Railways said in a statement on Saturday.

“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 and identification of tourist circuits, etc., Indian Railways is planning to spread rail-based tourism among masses through leasing of coaching stock to interested parties to run them as theme-based cultural, religious and other tourist circuit train,” the ministry said.

An Executive Director level committee has been constituted by the Railway Ministry to formulate the policy and terms and conditions for this project.

So far broad features of the proposed model have been formulated. These include:

Coaches will be leased as per desired configuration of interested parties. They can also taken bare shells on lease or purchase coaches. Some reports indicate that private players will have to lease or buy a train with at least 16 coaches.

Lessees and buyers will be allowed to make minor refurbishment to coaches. The lease will run for a minimum of 5 years and can be extended till the codal life of coaches. Codal life refers to the maximum service life of a coach, beyond which it has to be mandatorily replaced.

The business model will be decided and developed by the private player. This will include route, itinerary, tariff, etc.

The ministry has promised that the registration process for interested parties will be simple, based on eligibility criteria.

Indian Railways will levy haulage charges, nominal stabling charges and lease charges. No lease charges will be taken if the coaches are purchased.

Punctuality will be given priority. Also, coach refurbishments and itineraries will be  promptly approved. There will be no haulage charge for maintenance runs.

Once leased or sold, third-party advertisements will be allowed inside the train coaches. Branding of trains will also be allowed.

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