Indian Railways has extended the bidding process deadline for private train project by one month following a request from the potential bidders.

Mark the entry of private companies on certain passenger routes in the country, the project will now accept bids until 7 October. The previous deadline was 8 September.

According to local reports, private companies participating in the second pre-bid meeting earlier this month sought additional time for submission. The deadline was subsequently extended by a month.

Last month, the Ministry of Railways invited request for qualifications (RFQ) from private entities to run passenger trains on 109 routes. The move is expected to involve an investment of around Rs300bn ($3.98bn).

The ministry also recently issued draft specifications that private operators need to adhere while providing train services in the country.

The first private train is expected to run by 2023.

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By GlobalData

Several private sector players participated in the pre-bid meetings indicating their interest in the project.

The entry of private payers in the railway sector is expected to facilitate the introduction of modern rolling stock, reduce journey times, and enhance job creation and the passenger travel experience.

In a separate development, the Indian Government and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have signed a $500m loan agreement to bolster the suburban railway system in Mumbai.

The move will support the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III, which seeks to increase network capacity and improve the safety and services of the suburban railway system.