New Delhi: In what could be Railways going ahead with 100-day agenda of handing over operations of a couple of trains to the private sector, the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express would be the first train to be operated by private players, said sources on Monday.

According to media reports, the Railway Board was mulling on a second such route within the 500-km distance range.

The Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express, one of the most-awaited trains on the route, was announced in 2016 but was introduced in the new time table only recently.

It is reportedly parked at the Anand Nagar railway station in Uttar Pradesh and will be handed over to private players after an open bidding process. The custody of the trains will be transferred to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which will pay for it to the IRFC, the financing arm.

A senior official was quoted as saying that “the two trains will be given on an experimental basis and we hope that within the next 100 days, we will be able to run at least one of them. The idea was to identify routes which have low congestion and connect important tourists spots. The second train will also be identified soon,” a senior official said.

The Delhi-Lucknow route is currently served by 53 trains but does not have a Rajdhani. The Swarn Shatabdi is the most in demand on the route and takes about 6-1/2 hours.

The IRCTC has been asked to finalise a proposal by July 10 and submit it to the Railway Board. This comes after a meeting of the Member, Traffic, with officials of the IRCTC on July 4.

In its 100-day plan, the Railway Board was to offer two trains to operators for rights to run private passenger day/overnight train sets connecting important cities. The Railways also said that it would float a Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ) in the next 100 days.

Reports say the proposal came under criticism from the railway unions which had threatened protests.