The Indian Railways has begun the survey work on four multi-modal lines to complement the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors, which were proposed in the Interim Budget 2024-25. These multimodal lines would be a part of the three economic corridors — energy, mineral and cement corridor; the port connectivity corridor and high traffic density corridor.

The total cost of the Dedicated Freight Corridor, including Western and Eastern routes and other supporting infrastructure such as multi-modal parks, train sidings, among others, is pegged at ₹1,25,000 crore.

Of the two dedicated freight corridors, the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) is fully operational and commissioned. The EDFC, now covering 1,337 km, passes through Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. On the western side, the Dedicated Freight Corridor will cover 1,506 km connecting States including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Most of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) has been commissioned. The remaining portion — of around 100 km or so — is expected to be complete by the fiscal-end.

The WDFC and EDFC will connect with one another at Khurja in Uttar Pradesh. “The survey work for the complementary multi-modal corridors are underway. And these would be new lines adding capacity to the existing dedicated freight corridors. These routes will create additional tracks, reduce logistics costs, improve the wagon turnaround time while freeing up tracks for passenger train movement,” the official said. 

434 smaller projects

The new corridors will comprise 434 smaller projects and add 40,000 km of new tracks post completion over a six–to–eight year period.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet approved six multi-tracking projects at a financial outgo of ₹12,343 crore with a likely completion in 2029-30. The six projects will cover 18 districts across six States — Rajasthan, Assam, Telangana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Nagaland; and this will increase the existing network of Indian Railways by 1,020 km.

According to Ministry officials, the routes are mostly for transportation of commodities such as food grains, food commodities, fertilizers, coal, cement, iron, steel, fly-ash, clinker, limestone, POL (petroleum, oil and lubricants), containers and so on. Capacity augmentation will result in additional freight traffic of 87 MTPA (million tonnes per annum), it is being said.