INDIA: The 351 km initial section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor between New Khurja in Uttar Pradesh and New Bhaupur near Kanpur was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 29.


Addressing a socially distanced celebration at New Khurja by video link, the Prime Minister flagged off a 1 500 m long freight train hauled by an Alstom-built WAG12 electric locomotive.


Trains have been operating for some time over the 1 km between New Khurja and Bhadan, while the 157 km from there to Bhaupur had been expected to open in November, according to project promoter Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp of India Ltd.


Built at a cost of Rs57·5bn, the newly opened section is intended to decongest IR’s existing main line between Delhi and Kanpur, and to enable long-distance freight trains to operate at higher speeds. It is also expected to offer benefits for the region’s aluminium, glassware, textile and pottery industries, which will now have more access to local freight services.


The occasion also marked the formal opening of the operations control centre at Prayagraj, which is intended to oversee the whole of the 1 856 km Eastern DFC. When completed by June 2022, the line will link Sahnewal near Ludhiana in Punjab with Dankuni, West Bengal, passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Jharkhand.


According to Modi, DDFCIL is on course to complete around 1 100 km of new line in the coming months. The 46 km section of the Eastern DFC from New Khurja to the junction of the two corridors at Dadri southeast of Delhi is expected to be ready for operation by March.

Electric working on the 306 km section of the Western DFC linking Rewari in Haryana with Madar near Ajmer in Rajasthan is due to be inaugurated on January 7. This section has been operational with diesel traction since the end of 2018, and IR began testing electric haulage of double-stack container trains over the line on January 4. DFCCIL was planning to dispatch electric double stack trains from both Kishangarh and Ateli as part of the celebrations.

Further sections of the 1 504 km Western DFC linking the Delhi region to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai are also nearing completion. The 127 km Rewari – Dadri section is expected to be ready by December 2021, the target date having been brought forward several months. The 347 km Madar – Marwar – Palanpur section is 83% complete and will be ready in the next three months, while the 289 km Palanpur – Makarpura section is expected to open by March 2022. The 321 km from Makarpura to Sachin and Vaitana is on course to open in June 2022, but no date has been set for the final 101 km between Vaitana and JNPT.