At least three more dedicated freight corridors, including commodity-specific routes, are being considered as part of the Indian Railways’ plan to push faster freight movement and free up regular tracks for passenger trains. 

Covering the east coast route, the north-south trail and an east-west one, the three corridors cover a total length of 4,300 km, with the estimated project cost being ₹2,00,000 crore.  

All three network alignment reports are being prepared by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd . While two of the DPRs have been submitted, a third will be ready by the end of this month, sources told businessline

“The first priority was decongesting the Delhi–Howrah and Delhi–Mumbai routes to ensure faster movement of freighters and free up tracks for improved running of passenger trains”, an official said.   

East Coast track

According to officials in the know, the first dedicated freight corridor so proposed is along the East Coast running almost parallel to the existing coastal passenger rail line and covers an approximate distance of 1,200 km starting at Kharagpur (West Bengal) and terminating in Tenali (in Andhra Pradesh). 

The initial plan was to end the route at Vizag, connecting the port, but was subsequently increased to Tenali. 

“This route passes through the mineral bearing states Bengal and Odisha, connecting the Vizag port too. The target sector includes coal, fertiliser and iron-ore movement apart from other commodities like steel”, the official said, adding that “Port connectivity with Chennai becomes easier too, if, the corridor is extended till Tenali”. 

North-South corridor

The second route or the North-South Corridor covering Itarshi (in Madhya Pradesh) to Tenali, a distance of 1,000-1,200-odd km. The proposed corridor will pass through Itarsi-Nagpur-Vijayawada and end at Tenali. 

It will pass through four states that include Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

 “Traffic would cover coal, cement, fertilisers, petroleum and oil lubricants, among others”, the official said, adding that the long term plan would be to connect Dadri in Uttar Pradesh with Itarshi. This will allow connecting the existing and operational Dedicated Freight Corridor with the upcoming one. 

Proposal underway for a third 

The third corridor, which is still under-preparation, covers the East–West route connecting Andal (West Bengal) with Palgarh (Maharashtra). This route passes through five states which include West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. 

The main line covers close to 2,100 km and there will be spur lines with additional 300 km. 

“Some route redesign was suggested and the DPR is expected to be submitted by April-end”, the offiicial said adding that the major traffic generators would be coal and iron-ore, bauxite, manganese, ferro alloys, steel, ports – major and minor, fertilisers, thermal power plants, PoL cement plants, Container Corporation (CONCOR), Inland Container Deports (ICDs), Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, among others.  

“The Ministry of Railways will take a final call on funding, alignment and how to carry out these projects. Those decisions are currently under discussion,” a Railway official said.