The Railways on Friday provisionally selected 50 key routes on which trains by private operators can be run and asked its zones to examine the feasibility of the routes.
The decision was taken in a high-level meeting of Railway Board members which was chaired by member traffic. Principal chief operations managers of the six railway zones - northern, central, south eastern, north central, south central and southern railway also attended the meeting.
At the meeting, introduction of modern passenger trains by private operators, who would be selected through a transparent Request for Quote (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP) process, was discussed.
The private operators will run the trains on routes allocated to them on payment of applicable charges.
"For this purpose, 50 origin/destination pairs/routes were provisionally discussed. Zonal railways will examine the feasibility of introducing additional and new trains keeping in view the infrastructural projects and capacity enhancement works which are underway and those which are in the pipeline," the official said.
The need for developing coaching terminals commensurate with line capacity enhancement to meet the requirement of introducing and operating additional trains was also discussed in the meeting.
The railways on Monday announced the introduction of IRCTC's Tejas Express train from Delhi to Lucknow which will run six days a week except Tuesdays starting October 5.
This is the first train that will be fully run by the railways'' subsidiary, IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), and is the national transporter's first step towards privatising operations of some trains.
IRCTC is yet to announce the operation date of its second train -- the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express.
Earlier, in an internal note, railway board had said private operators would be considered for inter-city, long-haul trains as well as suburban routes.