New Delhi: The Centre is exploring the possibility of letting private operators run passenger trains on low congestion and tourist routes, said a report on Wednesday. (Also read: Railways Drops Idea of Massage Services After Facing Flak From Politicians, Public)

It will be inviting bids in the next 100 days, a leading daily cited a Railway Board document. Initially, the Railways will offer two trains to IRCTC, its tourism and ticketing arm, to operate. IRCTC will provide the ticketing and onboard services and the Railways will receive a lump sum in return.

These trains will be run on routes which have “low congestion and connect important tourist spots”. The trains would be transferred to IRCTC which will pay annual lease charges to the railways financing arm, IRFC. Subsequently, the expression of interests would be floated “to identify operators willing to participate in the bidding process for rights to run passenger day/overnight train sets connecting important cities,” a communication by Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav to all members and top officials of railways said.

The Railways will also launch a campaign exhorting people to give up their subsidy while booking a rail ticket. They could buy their tickets with or without subsidy. The campaign asking people to give up railway ticket subsidy will be on the lines of the Ujjwala campaign where people were urged to give up the subsidy for LPG cylinders.

It also proposes to corporatise units manufacturing coaches and other rolling stock. Each production unit will function as an individual profit centre. It will be reporting to its board or the chairman-cum-managing director.

To begin with, the Railways wants to start with at least one such production unit and would be holding consultations with. It would come up with a Cabinet note for approval and the report said the first unit could be the Modern Coach factory in Rae Bareli.