The railway ministry has announced its decision to transfer operations of more than 100 superfast passenger trains to private operators. This move is expected to bring higher level of comfort and satisfaction to the travelling public. However, it is not clear whether it will in anyway improve the profitability of Indian Railways. The railways operates more than 12,000 passenger trains daily. Transferring operation of less than one per cent of the trains to private operators is not even touching the tip of the iceberg. Introduction of private operators in container train operations has not given desired results.
Also, there are attendant problems of fixing revenue-sharing models as the accounting reforms project has not been completed yet. The Indian Railways’ tracks are shared by passenger and freight trains. How much proportion of fixed and variable expenditure should be shared by each mode has always been a grey area.