"There should not be FDI in highly sensitive parts of the railways," a home ministry official told PTI.
Managing passenger and freight traffic and operations of trains are considered to be the most sensitive parts of the Indian Railways.
The proposal was mooted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the commerce and industry ministry.
The department believes that permitting foreign investment in the cash-starved Railways would help in growth of the sector.
Railway is a critical sector for driving India's economic growth and it has the potential to raise GDP by over 1%.
Besides high-speed train systems and dedicated freight lines, there is also a proposal to allow foreign investment in sub-urban corridors and freight lines connecting ports, mines and power installations.
According to sources, an urgent need was felt to modernise, strengthen and expand the Indian railway network which would require very large capital investments.