The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation wants to install European anti-collision technology called Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) in its entire network to make it the safest freight train operation in the world.
The corporation has written to the Railway Board to give permission to install the system on the 1,839 km Eastern corridor barring a small stretch between Sonnagar and Dankuni, which is to be constructed on public-private partnership (PPP) mode. So, the proposal, that requires an expenditure of an additional Rs 500 crore, is to install the system between Ludhiana, Punjab and Sonnagar, West Bengal, covering around 1,350 km, DFC MD Adhesh Sharma said on Friday.
“According to the agreement with Japan, we are installing TPWS anyway in the Western corridor because the lending agency, JICA wanted the operations to be safe. Now we have approached Railways to let us install it in Eastern corridor as well,” he said.
The Western Corridor, spanning 1,483 km between Khurja in Uttar Pradesh and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, will have TPWS for Rs 600 crore.
Incidentally, Indian Railways found TPWS to be prohibitively expensive and did not pursue installing it except for a small stretch on the Delhi-Agra route. But for a new project like DFC, cost is not an issue and the rate of return on investment is also high enough to justify the expenditure. The first section of 56 km long track between Durgawati and Sasaram is expected to be operational for regular freight operation in July after getting Commissioner Railway Safety clearances.
“The 56 km line was commissioned in May this year after trial run. But regular freight operation will resume by July after getting CRS clearances,” he said.
With December 2019 as the final deadline in mind, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation has expedited awarding contracts for speedy execution of the project in both Eastern and Western corridors.
The Rs 91,459 crore project envisages the construction of total 3342 km long track for the exclusive movement of freight in a faster and environment-friendly way.