Chennai, Dec 6 A city-based organisation has been given the go-ahead to operate trains under the Bharat Gaurav Trains Scheme by the Southern Railway.
With this, Southern Railway becomes the first zone in the Indian Railways to get the first registered service provider under the scheme.
According to a Southern Railway official, the name of the service provider can be shared only when he pays the fee to the Railways.
Southern Railway said when the service provider registers the demand online specifying the type and number of coaches, the rakes/trains will be allotted on right to use basis for a specified number of years.
The rakes will be used by the service provider in running a thematic tour as per the itinerary approved by the Railways.
Indian Railways has introduced Bharat Gaurav trains with effect from November 23 with the objective of showcasing India’s rich cultural heritage and magnificent historical places to the people of India and the world.
Under this first-of-its-kind scheme, the Railways will offer the operators, the “Right to Use” of its rakes.
“The rakes can be used as it is or the operator can refurbish the same. The engine and its operator will be provided by the Indian Railways for a fee,” an official told IANS preferring anonymity.
It is learnt that tour operators and hospitality industry players are in discussion with the Indian Railways for this project.
The initial registration fee will be Rs 1 lakh and the right to use will be provided for a minimum period of two years and a maximum period up the the residual codal life of coaches.
The service provider can also purchase coaches directly from the Railways manufacturing units under Non-Railway Customer (NRC) scheme.
Service providers will be at liberty to decide the business model and tariff based on the level of services for these trains. They should offer an all-inclusive package to tourists including rail travel, hotel accommodation, sightseeing arrangement, visit to historical/heritage sites, tour guides.
Apart from charging the tourists, the operators are permitted to brand and also look at advertisement revenue both inside and outside the train.
The composition shall be a minimum of 14 coaches to a maximum of 20 coaches including the mandatory two guard vans.
The rake security deposit will be Rs 1 crore which is to be submitted in the form of a Performance Bank Guarantee.