NEW DELHI: In order to speed up goods traffic and ease the burden on existing rail tracks between Howrah and New Delhi, the work on the first phase of the 1,856-km Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor that runs through six States will be completed by August 2018, officials said.
"The first phase of the work on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor will be completed by August 2018," Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC) Managing Director Anshuman Sharma recently said.
He said that 300 km of track work has been completed on the stretch, adding that, thereafter, work on the Kanpur-Mughalsarai 402 km second phase will be completed by December 2019.
The corrdior, being laid at a cost of Rs 30,358 crore (about $5 billion) and scheduled for completion by 2020, will eventually run from Ludhiana in Punjab and, after passing through Haryana, will be joined by a spur from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh -- the closest point to national capital New Delhi -- before proceeding through Bihar and Jharkhand and terminating at Dankui in West Bengal. Its longest stretch of 1,058 km will be in Uttar Pradesh.
Earthwork is also under way on the Ludhiana-Khurja section to first flatten the ground and then compact it before the rails are laid.
Sharma said that the DFCC is, for the first time, using most advanced machines for completing the work on time.
"For the first time we are using the New Track Construction (NTC) machines which can lay around 1.5 km railway tracks in a day," Sharma said.
The Eastern Corridor, as also the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor that is simultaneously being developed, will also help speed up passenger trains on the Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata golden quadrilateral as they will absorb about 70 per cent of the existing freight traffic on the two routes.
"The average speed of passenger trains on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah corridors will increase by 25 kmph. The railways plan to operate trains at speeds of 160 kmph on the two most saturated corridors in the Country," Sharma said.