Indian Railways has operationalised over 90 per cent of its 2,843 km long Dedicated Freight Corridor - covering 100 per cent of the eastern arm and 85 per cent of the western one - with over 300 trains running across the network daily, sources tell businessline

The estimated cost of operationalising the network currently stands at ₹1,24,000 crore.

Plans are afoot to take up the operational route kilometres to over 95 per cent by April-end. 

Trains have achieved an average speed of 50-60 km per hr (and can be increased upto 100 km per hour) on these dedicated tracks, at least thrice the speed of goods trains that run on regular tracks of Indian Railways where average speed is in the 20-25 km per hour range. 

“95 per cent of route commissioning across the dedicated freight corridor is through, and work on some 110 km route in the western arm - which is around 5 per cent of the total project - remains to be completed. Some inspection and trials are pending along a recently commissioned 138 km leg. So by April-end 95 per cent of the corridor will be operational,” an official of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) said, requesting anonymity. 

The 138 km stretch is about to be operationalised between Sanand and Makarpura. 

Western Dedicated Freight Corridor 

The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) covers 1,506 km and connects the JNPT port (in Mumbai) to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. States covered include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and UP. 

The operational routes cover 938 km of Dadri—Sanand, 244 km of Makarpura—Gholvad, and 77 km of Gholvad—Vaitarna. The 138 km stretch of Sanand—Makarpur is about to be operational. 

Work is pending along the 110 km - -odd route between Vaitarna and JNPT port due to weather conditions, the subsequent reduction in the work period, and trouble with the contractor. 

“The completion of work along this route is expected in the next one year after which the entire stretch of the WDFC will be operational,” the official said. 

At present, 100 trains are running along the WDFC. 

Eastern Corridor ready 

On the other hand, the entire 1,337 km Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) is operational.

The route covers Sahnewal—Khurja, 401 km; Khurja—Bhaupur, 351 km; Bhaupur—DDU (Deen Dayal Upadhyay junction formerly called Mughalsarai), 402 km; DDU—Sonnagar, 137 km; and the Khurja—Dadri section, 46 km. 

The network traverses Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, and 200 trains run daily. 

A 538 km route between Sonnagar and West Bengal, originally proposed to be part of the EDFC but subsequently removed from the project, will now be developed directly by the Ministry of Railways.