Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a 351-km section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) and an Operation Control Centre (OCC) between Khurja and Bhaupur in Uttar Pradesh for commercial operations.
EDFC is a 1,839-km project billed as the largest rail infrastructure being built in independent India and has been in the making since 2006.
What is Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)?
- It is a high speed and high capacity railway corridor that is exclusively meant for the transportation of freight, or in other words, goods and commodities.
- DFC involves the seamless integration of better infrastructure and state of the art technology.
- The DFC consists of two arms- Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC).
- Eastern DFC is 1,839-km and starts at Sohnewal (Ludhiana) in Punjab and ends at Dankuni in West Bengal.
- Western DFC is 1,500-km and runs from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to JNPT in Mumbai.
Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor –
- The EDFC route has coal mines, thermal power plants and industrial cities. Feeder routes are also being made for these.
- The EDFC route covers Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal
- The World Bank is funding a majority of the EDFC.
- The 351-km-long ‘New Bhaupur-New Khurja section’ will decongest the existing Kanpur-Delhi main line and double the speed of freight trains from 25 kmph to 75 kmph.
Western Dedicated Freight Corridor-
- From Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai.
- The WDFC covers Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
- It is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
- Connecting Link for Eastern and Western Arm: It is under construction between Dadri and Khurja.
What is the significance of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)?
- The DFC shall reform the transportation sector and will create more capacity on trunk routes of Indian Railways as goods trains shall be able to run freely on DFC without any restrictions imposed by movement of passenger trains.
- Around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains.
- Tracks on DFC are designed to carry heavier loads than most of Indian Railways. DFC will get track access charge from the parent Indian Railways, and also generate its own freight business.
- The new section means on the Indian Railway main line, more passenger trains can be pumped in and those trains can, in turn, achieve better punctuality.
Built at a cost of Rs 5,750 crore through a loan from World Bank, DFC would mean a new era for India railways as all the installations are new including the stations. Tracks on DFC are designed to carry heavier loads than most of Indian Railways. DFC will get track access charge from the parent Indian Railways, and also generate its own freight business. This would also decongest the existing Kanpur-Delhi main line of Indian Railways.