The third private train of the IRCTC would run between Indore and Varanasi, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said on Saturday.
The overnight train would have the same rakes as those of the Humsafar Express, he added.
In the last few months, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has started operating private trains on two routes — Delhi-Lucknow and Ahmedabad-Mumbai.
“The third private train would be run on the Indore-Varanasi route,” Yadav said.
Officials said the train would run three days a week — two days via Lucknow and another day via Allahabad.
This would be the only such train run by the IRCTC which will have sleeper coaches and not chair cars.
The train is likely to begin its operations around February 20.
Yadav also said that while 150 trains to be run by private players are in the pipeline, till the modalities are worked out, the IRCTC will continue to operate them.
In fact, the railways’ move to let private companies run passenger trains has attracted more than two dozen firms, including global majors Alstom Transport, Bombardier, Siemens AG and Macquarie.
While the infrastructure, maintenance, operations and safety will be handled by the Indian Railways, private train operators can take rakes on lease and provide better onboard experience and services to passengers, in terms of food, comfort, entertainment, among others.
A discussion paper issued earlier this month by the government’s policy think tank NITI Aayog and the railway ministry has forecast an investment of about Rs 22,500 crore to run the 150 private trains on 100 routes.
Companies will have to bid for a network of routes and bids will be finalised on a revenue-sharing model.