Indian railway’s biggest infrastructure upgrade seems to be finally on track. The much talked about Western and Eastern dedicated freight corridor (DFC) is on scheduled for completion within its estimated timeline of 2020.
In this article, we will talk about all the aspects of this project in detail.
What is Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)
To develop dedicated railway lines for movement of freight only trains.
Why this is needed.
- Currently both passenger and freight trains use the common railway lines. As a result :
- Both passenger and freight trains run behind schedule due to over-utilisation of existing infrastructure
- The average speed of current freight trains is approx 25 KM/hour, which is quite low as per the global standards
- Movement of goods via railway is quite expensive
- Frequent delays and slow average speed enforce people to choose road route, which is not only costly but also not environment friendly
How it will be rolled out
- Two dedicated freight corridors will be created across the length and breadth of India (namely Eastern and Western dedicated freight corridor)
- They will pass through nine states and 60 districts
- Western DFC will cover 1,504 km from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust near Navi Mumbai to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, traversing through Vadodara-Ahmedabad-Palanpur-Phulera-Rewari
- Eastern DFC will cover 1,856 km from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni, near Kolkata in West Bengal, and will traverse the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand
- This project was approved in 2006 and a special purpose vehicle (SPV) was created for overseeing the implementation
- Work was slated to start in 2010 with estimated completion time in 2016-2017
- But, like many other projects, this also ended up in the same fate and encountered a lot of delays due to scarcity of funds, difficulties in land acquisition and other implementation challenges
- The delays have also increased the cost of project exponentially, from initial estimates of ₹28,000 crores to about ₹81,000 crores
- The western corridor is being fully funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency
- The eastern corridor is being partially funded by the World Bank
- The average speed of the freight trains will increase from 25 km/h to around 70 km/h.
- The cost of freight transportation will decrease which will also help to ease out inflation
- The freight transportation capacity will receive a big boost from existing 1,200 million tonnes to 2,300 million tonnes
- The freight and passenger train on-schedule record will get a big boost
Considering the scale of the project, railway is delivering it in phases with final phase scheduled to be rolled out in March 2020. This project, besides several other modernisation and capacity building initiatives, will act as milestone in face lifting of Indian Railways.