DFCCIL looks to decongest 70% of Railways’ freight load

file photo of Indian railways

Prayagraj: With goods trains envisaged to be running at 100 km per hour, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) is looking to decongest up to 70 per cent freight load of the Indian Railways, which could be better utilised to run passenger trains efficiently, MD

Anurag Sachan said here. ‘Our section is totally dedicated for freight transport… When 70 per cent of the Indian Railways’ traffic will migrate to our system, more high speed passenger trains such as Gatiman and Vande Bharat can be run by the Railways,’ Sachan told reporters here.

Sachan said the passenger trains of the Indian Railways right now cannot run at more than 60-70 km/hour (kmph) because the same track is being used for goods transportation as well which is running at an average speed of 25 kmph. He was speaking during a construction site visit of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) that will run from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dhankuni near Kolkata. The EDFC project is estimated to be completed by December 2021 and the corridor has become partially operational.

DFCCIL will soon open the Kanpur to Khurja section of the EDFC for parcel services, Sachan said. ‘As soon as we start operations in Kanpur to Khurja section, we will start the parcel project in that section,’ he said, adding the company was also planning to transport all green produces (through the dedicated corridor).

The 1,856 km-long EDFC project of the DFCCIL is partially funded by the World Bank, while the 1,483 km Western Dedicated Freight Corridor from Rewari in Haryana to Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust has secured funding from Japan government’s financial assistance arm JICA. Sachan said the share of Railways has fallen drastically in carrying goods since 1950s, when it used to carry nearly 86 per cent of the total freight, to now at around 36 per cent.

The majority of Indian goods are now being transported through the road network. In China, up to 47 per cent of goods are being transported through trains while in the US it is 48 per cent, which is ideal, Sachan said. He said the share of Railways and roads should ideally be 50:50 in transportation of goods, apart from that there are waterways, but in case of India the situation is adverse. In India, the share of Railways is 36 per cent, while that of roads is 57 per cent.

The Rs 81,000-crore ($12 billion) eastern and western corridor projects of DFCCIL have got $1.86 billion funding from World Bank’s funding arm International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). For the last leg Sonnagar (Bihar)-Dankuni (538 Km) section of the EDFC, the Ministry of Railways has decided to complete the corridor on a public-private partnership mode.

‘All our papers are ready and we have acquired the land also. Almost 90 per cent of the land acquisition has been done,’ he said. The World Bank too has expressed its interest to fund the last leg of Sonnagar-Dhankuni. ‘We are seeing it as an opportunity… We are not looking to replacing them, we want to be a facilitator so as to make it more sustainable model. It is a good investment,’ Atul Agarwal, Senior Transport Specialist, World Bank Group told reporters at the briefing about the EDFC here