Railway Reforms

What are Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs)?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dedicated freight corridor

Mains level : Dedicated freight corridor

Prime Minister has inaugurated a 351-km section between Khurja and Bhaupur in Uttar Pradesh for commercial operations of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).

There is another concept named Dedicated Passenger Corridors (DPCs). Can you guess the idea behind?

Background of DFCs

  • The concept of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) was mooted in 2006 to generate substantial capacity for freight traffic by developing separate tracks on identified routes.
  • The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) was incorporated as a separate company under the Ministry of Railways.

What is the DFC?

  • Under the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007–12), Railways started constructing a new DFC in two long routes, namely the Eastern and Western freight corridors.
  • The section recently launched is part of the 1,839-km Eastern DFC that starts at Sohnewal (Ludhiana) in Punjab and ends at Dankuni in West Bengal.
  • The other arm is the around 1,500-km Western DFC from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to JNPT in Mumbai, touching all major ports along the way.
  • There is also a section under construction between Dadri and Khurja to connect the Eastern and Western arms.

Why is it important?

  • Around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains.
  • Tracks on DFC are designed to carry heavier loads than most of the Indian Railways.
  • DFC will get track access charge from the parent Indian Railways, and also generate its own freight business.

What trains will use the new section?

  • Freight trains plying on this section from now on will help decongest the existing Kanpur-Delhi main line of Indian Railways, which currently handles trains at 150% of its line capacity.
  • The new section means on the Indian Railway mainline, more passenger trains can be pumped in and those trains can, in turn, achieve better punctuality.
  • Foodgrain and fertilizers from the northern region are transported to the eastern and Northeast regions.
  • From East and Northeast, coal, iron ore, jute, and petroleum products are transported North and West.

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