Railways’ freight corridor to be signal free

The 3,338 km exclusive freight corridor, being constructed by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation, will be level crossing free to ensure seamless transportation of goods.

The move has come as a major help for railways as it will ensure elimination of around 1,900 level crossings by constructing road over-bridges or road under-bridges on existing railways routes along the freight corridor route.

The plan will not only eliminate accidents at level crossings but will also improve the line capacity as trains get held up at busy level crossing gates.

“Railway Board has cleared the plan which will cost around Rs 15,000 crore. DFCC has been given the responsibility to execute it,” said RK Gupta, MD, DFCC.

Currently, of the total 32,735 level crossings, 14,896 are unmanned and these lead to deaths due to negligence of road users.

Casualties in level crossing accidents contribute to 65% deaths and 38% injuries out of the total tally of casualties due to train accidents of all types. Also, level crossing gates are resource intensive for their operation and maintenance.

The railways’ high-level committee on safety headed by Anil Kakodkar has emphasized the need to eliminate all level crossings whether manned (with or without signals) or unmanned in the next five years.

Apart from saving lives, it is estimated that savings on account of elimination of all level crossings will be to the tune of about Rs 7,000 crore every year, the committee said.

Despite passing through a financial crunch, the government is supporting the ambitious freight project that is seen as a necessity for survival of the transporter.

The Rs 77,000-crore mega project aims to build new tracks to transport containers and commodities at speeds of 100 km per hour, reducing travel time by a third. The corridors will ensure a quantum leap in increasing the railways’ transportation capacity by building high-speed and high-capacity dedicated freight corridors.

Considering the importance of the project for economic growth, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is monitoring progress of construction of the exclusive freight corridors.

It is expected that operationalisation of freight corridors will lead to shifting of freight traffic from road to low carbon intensive transport mode.