New Delhi, Aug. 13 -- As many as 23 companies, including Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens, NIIF, BHEL, among others, have shown interest in running private trains and attended a pre-application meeting Wednesday.

Indian Railways said that private firms will now have the freedom to purchase or lease trains, a step that will encourage more player to bid for the project.

"Ministry of railways (MoR) also clarified that risks with regard to operation of trains shall be allocated to the parties best suited to manage them. MoR also informed that the private entity shall have the freedom to decide on the fare to be charged from its passengers," an official statement said.

Other companies that attended the meeting included BEML, IRCTC, BHEL, CAF, St...