Indian Railways’ Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors, which have been designed for the exclusive movement of freight trains at a high speed, will now be used in times of exigencies for passenger train services, as per an official order of the Railway Board. According to sources quoted in a PTI report, this move will come into effect in case of natural calamities or train accidents where passengers will be transported to their destinations on the parallel Dedicated Freight Corridor network. This is likely to benefit the travellers of the Delhi – Howrah route and Delhi – Mumbai route – two of the busiest railway routes in India. These two rail routes also run parallel to the two DFCs.
As per the order, the Railway Board has decided that in case of exigencies, running of passenger trains on the Dedicated Freight Corridor network on corresponding Indian Railways’ lines can be permitted. According to the Railway Board officials, the Eastern DFC and Western DFC, are being built only for freight and as a rule, high speed freight trains (100 km per hour) are being operated on the said corridors. The report said, there is no provision for running passenger train services on the DFC.
The Railway Board has given permission to operate passenger train services on the Dedicated Freight Corridor network only under special circumstances. According to the report, 80 per cent of the Eastern DFC and Western DFC run parallel to the Delhi – Howrah rail route and Delhi – Mumbai rail route respectively. This will allow passenger train services to run on the Dedicated Freight Corridor in case of a disruption in the existing railway routes. The report further said these busy railway routes witness disruptions if there is a breach in the rail tracks due to any reason. This results in more congestion as well as diversion of train services, affecting the overall operations, the report added.