Trains at 200 kmph between Delhi-Mumbai soon

For a nation that has come to take trains running at 100 kmph as superfast, there is good news on the way. Indian Railways is working on a plan to run passenger trains at a speed of 200 kmph between Mumbai and Delhi by 2017.

And these won’t be bullet trains, which will take more time to become reality, the new superfast trains will use the existing tracks once the freight trains shift to the dedicated freight corridor being laid between Dadri in Uttar Pradesh near Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Mumbai, a newspaper reported.

Dubbed as semi-high speed trains – bullet trains run at speeds over 350 kmph – will significantly reduce the travel time between India’s two biggest cities. However, the tracks would have to be strengthened to make them capable to handling trains at 200 kmph.

The current fastest train on the section, the Rajdhani Express have a maximum speed of 120 kmph.

As per The Economic Times, the Railways had commissioned a study last year to identify the infrastructure that needs to be upgraded for the high-speed service. A railway official told the business daily that the work can be completed within four years of commissioning.

The other big advantage of the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) is that freight trains would also speed up considerably as the current average speed of freight trains increase from the present 25 kmph to 75 kmph.

The first phase of Rewari-Vododara of Western DFC will be commissioned by December 2016 and the entire line will be operational by March 2017.

Rly to get about Rs 20,000 cr Japanese loan for Western DFC

In a major leap towards the execution of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), Indian railways have signed a loan agreement of about Rs 20,000 crore with Japan for its western corridor.

The project appraisal for the two routes comprising Vadodara to Jawharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) and Rewari to Dadri in the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor was signed between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Railways, said a senior official of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC).
The Western DFC of 1499 km will be from JNPT in Mumbai to Tughlakbad and Dadri near Delhi and cater to the container transport requirement between the existing and emerging ports in western India and northern hinterland.

The proposed funding is under Special Terms of Economic Participation (STEP) between Japan and India. The value of the proposed loan is JPY 295 billion (about Rs 20,000 crore), which is a soft loan with the repayment period of 40 years.

With this loan, funding of the entire Western Dedicated Freight Corridor from Delhi to Mumbai is being taken care of and now the focus will be for speedy execution of the project, said the official.
As far as land acquisition for the Western DFC is concerned, out of total 3608 hectares required in phase-I, 3186 hectares has been acquired. For the phase II, out of total 2252 hectares required, 1041 hectares have been acquired.

Remaining land is expected to be acquired during the current financial year, said the official.
Country head of JICA Shinya Ejima,, Advisor (Infrastructure) Railway Board Girish Pillai and Managing Director DFCC RK Gupta were present at the signing of the loan agreement with Japan last week.

The Delhi-Mumbai Dedicated Freight Corridor will be successfully completed by March 2017, a senior official of Ministry of External Affairs said here today. Replying to a question during briefing on the postponement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scheduled visit to Japan from tomorrow, Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East Asia), said work on the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, being built with Japanese assistance, is proceeding on a fast pace and would be successfully completed as per the schedule by March 2017.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) is 1,483 km long rail corridor connecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai with Dadri near Delhi.

The DFC will provide high speed, double stacked container rail connectivity that will reduce transit time, costs and increase reliability. A band of 150 km on both sides of the DFC is to be developed as Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) to provide a high quality environment with state-of-the-art infrastructure for new investors. UNI

Railways to procure 200 high HP electric locos for DFC

Gearing up for hauling maximum loadings in the upcoming dedicated freight corridor (DFC), the railways have decided to procure 200 high horse power (HP) electric locomotives including import of 40 locos from Japan.

In addition to its 6000 HP locomotives, the national transporter will acquire 9000 HP electric engines to increase its haulage capacity.

“We will procure 200 high HP electric locomotives for the DFC, out of which 40 will be imported from Japan as the requirement is to increase the carrying capacity substantially. The rest will be manufactured in the country”, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The carrying capacity will increase to 6000 tons per locomotive from the existing 5000 tons capacity.

It is estimated to cost about Rs 20 cr per 9000 HP locomotive. At present it costs about Rs 14 cr for the 6000 HP loco.

“The import of locomotives from Japan is as per the Japanese loan condition since the western corridor of the DFC is being funded by JICA,” the official informed.

Adding further he said, “The rest of the locomotives will be assembled in India with technology and components from Japan.” The procurement process of modern locomotives is to begin shortly as part of the DFC, which is likely to be operational in the next three years.

The 3373 km long DFC, the flagship project of the railways, aims to augment the rail transport capacity to meet the growing requirement of movement of goods by segregating freight from passenger traffic.

The Western DFC (1534 km) will be from Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai to Tughlakabad and Dadri near Delhi and would cater largely to the container transport requirements between the existing and emerging ports in Maharashtra and Gujarat and the northern hinterland.

The Eastern DFC will be from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni (1839 km) near Kolkata to be extended in the future to serve the new deep sea port proposed in Kolkata area and will largely serve coal and steel traffic.

Railways is setting up an electric locomotive depot with maintenance facility at Rewari for the DFC on a 20 acre land as it is crucial for DFC operation, the spokesman added.

Dedicated Freight Corridor to prosperity

The ministry of railways has embarked on an ambitious project of connecting the four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai through the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC). The existing capacity on the trunk routes between these cities is over-saturated, and needs to be freed up for transporting higher volumes of freight traffic. The first phase of the project will consist of two routes: the Eastern Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni and the Western Corridor from Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Mumbai to Dadri near Delhi. These will comprise mostly of double track railway lines capable of handling 32.5 ton axle load, longer trains and also double stack containers. When completed, they will provide a faster, and safer transport system that will run at reduced unit cost, enhancing not only railway’s share of the freight transport business but also releasing capacity for the large passenger market in the densely populated regions. It will also reduce the level of emission of greenhouse gases by encouraging a modal shift from road to rail.

With the surge of containerised maritime freight, and development of more efficient freight distribution systems, freight corridors are receiving a growing level of attention. The idea behind a rail corridor is rather simple: just like trucks, the trains must have the opportunity to run in one move from the originating point to the destination. Several countries are now veering round to the view that greater freight volumes can be carried by creating dedicated railway lines to goods traffic and eliminating bottlenecks and interference with passenger trains. At the same time, the cost of rail transport must be reduced in order to make it competitive with road transport. By linking major hubs to which freight flows converge, these transport corridors help in serving the markets better. They lead to better integration between production and distribution centres and also a greater reliability of distribution. By bringing about greater efficiencies in production systems and supply chains they accelerate the pace of economic development. There is also the objective of optimising railway’s role in the multi-modal transport chain and services and developing valuable synergies with shipping companies, ports, inter-modal operators, freight customers and all stakeholders in the global logistics system.

In some regions, which have a grouping of many smaller countries, speedier freight transport can lead to closer economic integration. In the European Union, for instance, construction of dedicated freight corridors is high on the agenda. The Community of European Railways (CER) has promoted special studies on six major European corridors dedicated to freight on which the project European Railway Infrastructure Master Plan (ERTMS) is proposed to be implemented. In signing the Rotterdam Declaration (2010) ten European transport ministers have reinforced and confirmed their intent to cooperate in the development of European rail freight corridors and allow them to grow together into networks.

In US, because of a huge surge in demand for freight haulage in the country, which is predicted to increase by 92 per cent between 2002 and 2035, billions of dollars are being invested to build new corridors for handling cargo that is increasing as a result of a rising population and the accumulating supply of commodities. It is also felt that there will be huge fuel savings by switching freight from highways to rail. US economists estimate that a 10 per cent shift from road to rail can cause national fuel savings of more than a billion gallons a year, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12 million tons.

China too is moving in a big way in expanding capacity for rail freight by creating 12,000 kms of high-speed dedicated passenger lines between major provincial centres. The existing tracks will then be used to accommodate growing demand for freight that will more than double the rail transport capacity in such corridors. It is the other way about in India where a freight-only corridor has been preferred over the dedicated passenger corridor, as it is estimated that the investment required for the latter will be much greater, and with relatively lower returns. Additionally, heavy investments will be required for augmenting capacity on existing networks to handle the growing freight business.

The World Bank and Japanese financial agencies have extended loans to the Indian Railways to finance identified segments of the project. However, there is no clarity as yet on the source and availability of the balance funds. Delays in execution of the project also have to be factored in as these can escalate the costs further. The cost for the two corridors has escalated to nearly `77, 000 crore from the originally estimated `28, 000 crore. With the marked slowdown in the economy the forecasts of traffic growth and revenue may also require to be reworked to more realistic figures.

As the cost and time overruns of the project were rising beyond acceptable levels, the Prime Minister’s Office stepped in and conducted a detailed review of the project last February. Thereafter, it took the decision to monitor its progress directly, clearly conveying its annoyance to the railways for the latter’s lackadaisical approach in handling this project. While this should stir the railways to action, it is equally important that the public is at all times kept informed of what is being done to expedite completion of the work. This will serve as an image building exercise for the railways, because all said and done, DFC happens to be one of the biggest infrastructure projects that is being undertaken in the country.

Freight corridors with the potential of carrying high volumes for longer distances, that can help reduce costs sufficiently to compete with road, form a very small minority of route kilometres on most national railway networks, and in some countries do not exist at all. If, therefore, the DFC is able to achieve its performance targets, it will on the one side accelerate India’s GDP growth, and on the other, establish benchmarks that other countries, still in the process of planning similar corridors, can aim at. The government must, therefore, ensure that the project continues to move in top gear.

S N Mathur is former MD, Indian Railways Finance Corporation.


Railways keen to complete DFC project by 2017

The railways has been working hard to complete its dream project, the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), on a priority basis and wants to make it operational by the end of year 2017. The first deadline set for it was 2015 which was later on extended to 2020.

According to Chairman of Railway Board (CRB) Vinay Mittal, the freight corridors — east and west — would open a new chapter in the history of railways. Goods traffic would get a fillip after completion of these projects. Goods trains would run faster on these two routes, Mittal said.

Sources said the railways has already started civil work of the DFC in the eastern region. It has awarded contracts to an agency to carry out civil work on the Mughalsarai-Sonenagar route. The project would be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 12,000 crore in the eastern region. The eastern DFC linking Dankuni in West Bengal with Ludhiana in Punjab will prove a boon for businessmen, they said.

Published in: on July 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm  Leave a Comment