India opens new dedicated freight corridor linking major power plants
India is ready to commission another dedicated freight corridor crossing its Northeastern territories. The 1,337-kilometres-long Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) will be operational on 1 November and accommodate 250 freight trains per day between Punjab and Bihar. According to Ravindra Kumar Jain, managing director of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), the project cost almost 7 million U.S. dollars and will be critical for India’s coal supply.
EDFC’s construction started in 2020 and could have been ready earlier if COVID-19-related restrictions had not delayed the project. For the three years in between, freight traffic was possible in certain sections, with approximately 140 trains using the corridor daily. Now, the EDFC is ready to launch full-steam operations. “Thermal power plants in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and partly Rajasthan will benefit from the corridor as it will cater largely to coal traffic,” explained Jain to Indian media.
Freight dedicated network
To understand how things work in the Indian rail freight market, it is essential to look at its network, which, by the way, is almost 100 per cent electrified. India has five freight-dedicated rail corridors spanning large parts of its territory and connecting critical hubs. Those corridors are used solely by freight trains that move without considering passenger traffic.
Additionally, India largely deploys double-stack trains, thus multiplying the capacity of each roundtrip. The country’s infrastructure allows for such a solution, which could not be as efficient in Europe, for instance, considering train weight restrictions and other burdens like tunnels.