Western Freight Corridor snippets

The western leg of the country’s most ambitious railway project, the multi-billion dollar Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), is finally set to take off in Maharashtra. 
After a week of meetings between the State Urban Development Department and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation, officials have managed to overcome the hurdles stalling the project. The State agreed to the alignment of the western leg of DFC where it will pass under the Matheran flyover that connects New Panvel with the older township. 
The Panvel imbroglio was settled after a team of the State Urban Development Department, DFCC and CIDCO, led by principal secretary T C Benjamin visited the Matheran flyover. 
The problem, according to DFC, was that its goods trains would need clearance of 7.7m, whereas the height under the flyover is 6.7m. Under the new plans, the tracks – mostly on elevated structures - will slope downwards about 2 km ahead of Matheran bridge, 
and then go a metre below ground below the bridge. “This way we get the required height of 7.7m below and the heavily-patronised bridge need not be dismantled,” said a senior DFC official. 
DFC, with two alignments – the JNPT to Dadri (near Noida) Western Corridor and the Dankuni (West Bengal) to Ludhiana Eastern Corridor – is what officials believe is the railway’s ‘game changer’. 

With the railways share of freight on the decline due to the advent of multi-axle trucks and better highways, officials say that DFC will bring the freight industry back to railways. 
“DFC trains will be 1500m long against the normal 700m, and will carry 15,000 tons against the current 4,000. They will run at speeds of 70 kmph against the current 26 kmph, thanks to 9000 horsepower locomo
tives from Japan. DFC will also transport freight at one-sixth of today’s rate, which other modes of transport will find impossible to match,” said D S Rana, chief project manager, western corridor, DFCC. 
DFC requires 299 hectares of private land in Maharashtra to lay 150 km of tracks, with officials saying that mapping the first step on acquiring the land has been completed. Within the internal framework of the DFC (Western), works in Maharashtra have been slotted for ‘phase 2’ and those in Gujarat in ‘phase one’. Gujarat, through which 588 km of tracks will run, has cleared all phases and should float bids for construction in a few weeks, officials said. In nine months, both Gujarat and Maharashtra will be at the same level where paperwork is concerned. The deadline to commission DFC (W) is March, 2017. 
Permissions for hurdle number two – 1190m that goes through the Nagla block of Sanjay Gandhi National Park - which was cleared by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan few weeks ago, will be sent to the union government for formalisation.

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