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Number of trains at freight corridors to rise next year: DFC MD

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NEW DELHI : Coal, food grain, and Export-Import freight movement is expected to get a boost as 90 per cent of the Dedicated Freight Corridor is now scheduled to be completed in June 2023.

“Most of dedicated freight corridor (DFC) tracks, over 90 per cent, will be operational in next one year by June 2023. This will mean that around 2750 route kilometres (RKM) of the Eastern and Western DFC will be ready by then, another 100 RKM is expected to be left for completion,” Ravindra Kumar Jain, Managing Director at Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp Ltd (DFCCIL) said.

The balance stretch pertains to Maharashtra, where DFCCIL is facing land and environmental clearance related issues.

Jain said that presently there are up to 100 trains running on WDFC and 60 on EDFC.

Numbers of trains are likely to rise to 125-150 trains on WDFC and over 100 on EDFC by June 2023,” he said.

He also said that trial train operations have started at Mehsana – Palanpur section of the DFC in Gujarat. This is likely to soon get extended up to Sanand in next couple of months.

While the initial plan was to make both DFCs operational by June 2022-end, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent slowing down of work at sites has resulted in the deadlines being pushed ahead.

“Freight movement from ports in Gujarat to Delhi has already been cut down by a day. The biggest gainer by June next year will be coal and food grain movement will be in EDFC and Export-Import traffic on the WDFC will get a boost,” he added.

Jain said that trial train operations have started at Mehsana – Palampur section of the DFC at an average speed of 55-65 kilometres per hour. This is double the speed of freight trains on the Indian Railways network.

At 1010 kms completed, roughly half of the DFC has been commissioned till now. The EDFC has a planned route length of 1,875 RKM while WDFC is of 1,504 RKM. EDFC starts from Sahnewal near Ludhiana in Punjab and pass through Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to terminate at Dankuni in West Bengal. The WDFC connects Dadri in Uttar Pradesh with the Jawaharlal Nehru port in Maharashtra’s Navi Mumbai. It passes through Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

The initial cost of these freight corridors was planned at Rs 21,140 crores in 2006. This escalated to Rs 1.24 lakh crores in 2021. In January last year, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had dedicated the 306 km Rewari – Madar section of the freight corridor to the nation.

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