Dedicated Freight Corridor: First portion will be operational by 2018
The first portion of the long-awaited dedicated freight corridor will become operational by March 2018. The Ateli-Phulera section will take over the freight load of the Indian railways on this route. In total the dedicated freight corridors will transfer at least a minimum of 70% of the freight currently carried by the Indian railways.
Also, around 500-600 km of additional track length will be operational by financial year 2018-19.
The plan to construct dedicated freight corridors across the country is a milestone in the history of Indian railways. Once completed, the dedicated freight corridors will enable Indian railways to improve its customer satisfaction and meet current market needs more effectively. Creating a railway infrastructure on such a scale is unprecedented in independent India. It will drive the establishment of industrial corridors and logistic parks along its alignment.
The Agency entrusted with the development of the corridors:
Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) is a special purpose vehicle of the railways. It has been entrusted to develop six dedicated freight corridors across the country, of which the Eastern corridor and the Western corridor have been taken up on priority basis. The project has received funding assistance from the World bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Eastern corridor will connect Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal. While the Western corridor connects Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.
Objective of Dedicated freight corridor:
- Reduced cost of transportation and higher productivity
- Increased share of railways in the freight market
- Create additional rail infrastructure to cater to increased demand
- Introducing high end technology and IT packaging for freight services
- Ensure a guaranteed transit time
Enhanced features of this corridor:
- The cost of operations on the DFCs is expected to go up as trains running on this corridor will have higher tonnage capacity as compared with the existing operational ones. The average speed of trains on these tracks is expected to rise threefold to 70-75 km per hour from the current 20-25 km per hour
- One rack on the DFC will carry 13,000 ton of load compared with 5,000 ton that can carried by racks on the existing railway tracks. These corridors will have lower tariffs and once all the corridors are operational, the railways’ share in carrying freight will rise from the current 30% to 50%
- Doing away with deployment of guards in each freight train, the corridor will equip the rear end of a wagon with this modern electronic system. Once end wagons are fitted with sensors, guard service on freight trains will be a thing of the past.
- It will also be free from all level crossings, a major safety hazard in railway network. Construction of under bridges and over bridges on cost sharing basis with states will be taken up to make the entire track free from level crossings
Issues in implementation:
The major challenge faced is acquiring land. Though 96% of the land required for the two DFCs has already been acquired, at some patches there are issues related to land acquisition.