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Operation of trains likely to be privatized

 Railway ministry is expanding the scope of private sector participation in running of trains by permitting them to lay a railway line and run trains. The railways at present allow private parties to run freight trains on its tracks but its operation is left to the Railways according to ministry sources.

The rationale behind the scheme is to set off a competition in running of trains between various private sector players.  Private companies can lay their own lines and can either themselves run trains or have other third party operators. They will have to pay a small charge to railways for permitting them to operate the system.

The official said that the idea was still in the conceptualization stage and the rail board was working on the feasibility.  The scheme is to open up the area to both freight and passenger trains. The railways are circumspect about the scheme for fear of opposition from the railway unions.

Railway currently allows private parties to run freight trains on its tracks, though operations of the trains are still in hands of railways. The national transporter also runs a few luxury tourist trains in joint venture with state governments.


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