India is currently undertaking one of the most ambitious railway projects: the dedicated freight corridor.
India’s railway network accounts for 30% of freight traffic. This is the preferred medium for the “bulk” movement on long distances. It should be noted that a major change was registered in 2006 following the opening of container operations to private sector. This measure increased its volume by 68% in just three years. The “IR Vision 2020-Indian Railway” includes projects for the development of this type of infrastructure, such as bypasses in large cities and the opening of alternative routes to those that are saturated. Therefore, terminals will be promoted for multimodal transport and information services. In addition, Indian Railways will be focused on strengthening its presence through agreements with private carriers.
Dedicated Freight Corridor
The idea is to unite the well-known “Golden Quadrilateral”, composed by the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah. It involves two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Chennai-Mumbai) through which some of the busiest routes are linked. After completion, this will cross a total number of nine states of the country.
The conceptual plan of the dedicated freight corridor includes 10,122 kilometers, although for the present, only the East corridor (Ludhiana-Mughalsarai-Dankuni) of 1,839 km and the West corridor (Dadri-Jaharawal Nerhu Port Trust, Navi Mumbai) of 1,534 km have been approved. Both will be completed by 2020. The works are carried out on a distance of 3,338 kilometers. This aspect will generate an additional freight capacity of 2,400 Mt. In addition, the train speed will increase to 60 Km / h on average compared to the current speed of 25 Km / h. The other sections, totalizing 6,200 kilometers from North, South, Western Coast and South-East, are planned for 2025. The average train speed will be increased to more than 50 km / h and the axle load will be also increased from 23-24t to 32,5t due to this new corridor. Progress continues with agreements, such as the one recently signed with the World Bank for a $ 650 million loan for the third Eastern section (EDFC-III).
The development of a dedicated freight corridor will be accompanied by the creation of ten logistics parks, in collaboration with the private sector. According to the planning program, one or two of them will be in the state of Gujarat, two in Maharashtra and four or five in the National Capital Region (NRC).
Links to ports
Improvements in the freight network include an increased railway link to ports. At present, work is being done in the conversion of track gauge linking the ports of Kandla and Mundhra, North of India. Work is also being done on the Haridaspur-Paradeep line of 82 kilometers. This is an extension of the BG branch of Daitari /Tomka-Banspani, under construction, and which aims to link the iron ore areas of the sectors of the State of Orissa to the port of Paradeep. Obulavaripalli-Krishnapatnam is another ongoing project, which will link the Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh with that of Dahej Bharuch in the state of Gujarat.