Top Railway Projects that Beat the Slowdown and Kick-Start India’s 2014-2020 Economy

The ongoing Railway projects that beat the slowdown blues and earn brownie points for the new government, whatever be the political coalition that may come into power at the Centre after May 16, are the top-most Railway infrastructure projects that kick-starts a sluggish economy between 2014-2020.  These low-hanging fruits of labour of the two-term UPA government – the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) projects, the first phase of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Metro Rail Projects in nine cities, Airport modernisation projects in six cities, including Chennai and Kolkata, and power projects that have signed fuel-supply agreements (FSAs) etc are there for the new dispensation to pluck.

Here’s a quick status check of these projects, which could help the economy beat the slowdown blues and earn brownie points for the new government.

1. Dedicated Freight Corridors between Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata

DFCCWith 94% of the land for the projects acquired, and all major statutory clearances in place, DFC is on the fast-track, backed by institutional finance from the World Bank (eastern corridor) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (western corridor). Civil contracts for 1,100 km were given out in 2013.

Contracts for another 1,100 km, worth over Rs 7,000 crore (Rs 70 billion), are expected to be awarded in 2014.

Aimed at decongesting freight routes, this project involves setting up high-speed railway corridors with Rs 95,000-crore (Rs 950 billion) investments. It is slated for completion by FY18.

Unique features and benefits of Dedicated Freight corridors

  • World’s first and only double-stack, international standard container freight trains run using electric locomotives, which are superior in terms of environment and economics. DFC uses the pantograph which hold world record for their height, as India is the only country to have double-stack trains on an electric locomotives, which can transport international standard containers. Once implemented DFC will make Indian freight transport cheapest in the world as they run on a Broad-gauage with double-stack using electric locomotives, which no other country has achieved.
  • World’s first and only triple-stack container trains will run on these lines. Broad-gauge DFC allows triple-stack container to be used in these railway lines for domestic traffic. This could be implemented in the domestic sector movements only, as, for international trade, there are standard container sizes. This will reduce the unit cost of transportation by permitting higher volumes of relatively lightweight and high value cargo in each rake. These containers would be well suited for moving voluminous and high value cargo such as cars, automobile parts, electronics and electrical components, readymade garments, tea, medicinal items, spices, plastic goods, jute, leather goods, de-oiled cakes and paper. A first in the world, as India uses Broad-gauge electrical locomotives for freight movement with triple-stack configuration.
  • One of the best axle-load in the world, though railway engineers and India may not write their name in the history books as Australian private railway line holds the record for Heaviest haul railway in the world. Dedicated Freight corridors will have higher axle load of 32.5-tons/axle (currently 40-tons/axle loads is the upper load limit for railways due to rail metallurgy limitations) and speed of freight transport at 100 km/h.
  • Indian freight movement will move away from inflationary diesel fuel to the indigenous electrical power, helping India to control its Current Account Deficit. India, of late has become one of world leader in electricity generation by renewable sources. India will not be dependent on foreign countries for its freight railway network’s energy needs.
  • Freight Trains with length 1.5 km, width 4660 mm, height 7.1 m, load 15,000 Ton in a double-stack configuration will run on these lines.  These are the minimum configuration for which railway line will be built, but operational expertise and efficiency is expected increase the capacity in most of above parameters.
  • India will move away from single-stack freight trains to double-stack configuration.
  • Technology used for the double-stack electrical locomotive will be used in passenger trains to introduce double-decker passenger electrical trains, which will result in lower ticket prices.
  • UBS, has identified DFC as one of the project which will have effects felt on Indian economy for foreseeable future.
  • DFC using electric locomotive has major environmental benefits. World Bank study has shown that DFC will reduce Green House Gas emission and will have positive effect on reducing the pollution.
  • Passenger trains can run faster and India can achieve its target of running sub-high speed trains on the current tracks. Freight traffic will migrate to the new network, freeing up the current trunk lines for passenger traffic.
  • India will have speed of freight trains up to 100 km/hour, from the current average freight train speed of 20–30 km/h.  It may be increased to 120 km/h achieved by the Chinese freight trains, to boost India’s cargo capacity by 12 percent.

Ten Metro Rail projects transforming Indian Cities

Metro rail projects under implementation in Ten important cities could be the cornerstone of any urban infrastructure development programme by the new government, says Rohit Inamdar, vice-president, ICRA. Sector experts point out civil construction typically constitutes 35-50% of the project cost of a Metro system.  The Metro fever is catching up in smaller cities, thanks largely to the success of Delhi Metro. Cities like Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Bhopal are making a case for Metro, even though they don’t qualify because of the population cut-off…

Metro rail

Given the muted activity in other infrastructure sectors, construction companies have bid aggressively for work on superstructures and foundation work.  A renewed thrust from the government will help improve cash flow for these companies and enhance economic activity on the ground.


Delhi Metro:

Creating a world-class Metro rail infrastructure in a congested and regulation-heavy city like Delhi was a daunting task. With 2 million people hitching a ride every day, Delhi Metro Rail has become a new way of life. As the Delhi Metro covers more ground, more and more people have shifted to this mode of transport. Some 200 trains cover 70,000 km everyday on 190-km-long Metro corridors in Delhi. The numbers can only increase once another 140 km in new lines are added by 2016. Roughly Rs 523 crore is saved annually in fuel costs whereas the cost in terms of time of passengers saved per year works out to a whopping Rs 2,978 crore, according to a study.


Bangalore Metro:

Namma Metro is a truly global service. Everything about it is international class: the air-conditioned coaches, the stations and the lush green stretches through which it passes in gentle curves. Trains run from 6 am in the morning till 10 pm in the night. The trains run at a frequency of 15 minutes from 6 am to 8 am in the morning and 8 pm to 10 pm in night and with frequency of 10 minutes from 8 am to 8 pm.


Gurgaon Rapid Metro:

In what is being seen a big infrastructure development, the rapid metro will connect the Millennium City like no other public transport has! The first phase of Rapid Metro Gurgaon Corridor is being constructed at a cost of Rs.1088 crore and it is 5.1 kilometre long. It has six stations Sikanderpur, DLF phase-2, Belvedere Towers, Cyber city, Moulsari Avenue and Cyber Green Infinity Towers. The fare of Rapid Metro will be similar to that of Delhi Metro. The stations of Rapid Metro have been integrated with DMRC stations and fare is also similar.


Jaipur Metro:

The people of Jaipur may be able to take Metro rides in their city as early as August this year, as the first lot of four coaches arrived from Bangalore. The coaches have been manufactured at Bharat Earth Movers Ltd’s factory in Bangalore.  The total capacity of train would be of 1,314 passengers. A coach of this train can carry the passengers of around six buses.  The estimated cost to construct the line from Mansarovar to Chandpole is Rs 2,000 crore. If it is extended to Badi Chaupar, the cost will go up to around Rs 3,149 crore.


Mumbai Metro:

On the occasion of Maharashtra Day, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan promised Mumbaikars that the state’s first Metro from Versova to Airport Road in Mumbai will be commissioned in September. Sleek on the outside, roomy, comfortable and cool on the inside, the train ride is quite smooth and and noise-free. The quality of ride is comparable to a rail system. The Metro can carry around 280-300 passengers per coach as opposed to the Monorail which has a capacity of 145-160 passengers per coach. It will initially run with 4 coaches but would later boast of 6 coaches. The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar stretch will have 12 stations and the trains will travel at an average speed of 60-80 kmph.


Mumbai Monorail:

Mumbai’s Chembur-Wadala monorail section, which is India’s first is set to be operational later this year. The 19.54 km monorail corridor is the world’s second longest monorail corridor after Japan’s Osaka corridor, which is 23.8 km. Six rakes will be pressed into service for Phase I. Once they are operational, the trains will run every nine minutes between Wadala and Chembur. The seven stations on the 8.80-km long Phase-I are: Chembur, VNPurav/RCMargJunction, Fertilizer Township, Bharat Petroleum, Mysore Colony, Bhakti Park and Wadala Depot.  The services, from 5 am to midnight, can be availed of for tickets ranging from Rs 8 to Rs 20. The fares will rise by 11% every fourth year.


Kolkata Metro:

The Kolkata Metro is the first such system in India. The initiative had to wait for 2 decades when in 1969 the Metropolitan Transport Project was initiated. The master plan prepared by them in 1971 envisaged a network of 97.50 km consisting of three North-South corridors of which three were selected for detailed planning.

These three lines were Dumdum – Tollygunge, Bidhannager – Ramrajatala and Dakshineswar – Thakurpukur. Based on traffic studies, the Dumdum – Tollygunge corridor was first selected for implementation and work started on 29th December, 1972. On 24th October 1984, the first stretch, a length of about 3.4 km between Esplanade and Bhowanipur was completed, the first metro line in India.

Over the years, others stretches on the corridor were gradually completed and some extensions were also made. This corridor was extended to New Garia as late as 2010. The people of Kolkata, enjoyed benefits of a modern metro system. In today carries about 5 lakh passengers a day.


Chennai Metro:

The Chennai Metro project aims at providing the people of Chennai with a convenient, modern and economical mode of public transport, which is properly integrated with other forms of public and private transport including buses, sub-urban trains and MRTS. Officials are hoping to up the frequency to one train every two minutes 30 seconds once footfalls reach six lakh passengers a day. The first set of these locally made coaches for Chennai Metro will be ready by January 2014 at French multinational Alstom’s plant at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, 55 kms from Chennai.

Chennai Metro

Hyderabad Metro:

The Hyderabad Metrorail is the world’s largest elevated Metro Rail PPP project based on DBFOT basis (Design, Built, Finance, Operate and Transfer). Expected to carry 15 lakh passengers by 2016-17 covering 71.16 km with stations at every 1m. Of the total 66 stations that will be constructed in all the three corridors of the metro rail, eight will come up between Mettuguda and Nagole stretch which are likely to be completed by the end of this year and become operational by the end of the next year.  The Hyderabad Metro Rail project was selected as one of the top 100 strategic global infrastructure projects to be showcased at the Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum held in New York this year.


Kochi Metro:

The 13 km first reach of Kochi Metro Rail project from Aluva to Palarivattom is expected to be completed by December 2015 and the second by March 2016. Construction work on the Rs 5000 crore Kochi Metro project began in June with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurating the piling work. The 25-km Kochi Metro route, which will have 22 stations from Aluva to Petta, is expected to be completed in about three years time. The metro project received the centre’s sanction in July last year and the Union and Kerala government are equity partners in the project, executing agency of which is the DMRC.


2. Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (Phase-I)

DMIDCLIf things go as planned, the ambitious DMIC project – building manufacturing centres and townships along the 1,483-km Delhi-Mumbai freight corridor – will see two groundbreaking events in 2014.  In the October-December quarter, global bids are likely to be awarded for creation of truck infrastructure at four project sites – industrial townships at Dholera (Gujarat), Vikram Udyogpuri (near Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh) and two multi-modal logistics hubs at Shendra (Maharashtra) and Greater Noida. The pre-engineering master plans for the four sites are expected to be finalised by June. This will be followed by a contractor outreach programme in July.


The $90-billion project spread over eight states had to be ring-fenced from political challenges. According to Shinya Ejima, India representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is funding the project, such sovereign-guaranteed projects aren’t affected by change in governments at the state or Centre. But experts point out the government of the day could play a key role in accelerating the pace on the ground.

The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project is a State-Sponsored Industrial Development Project of the Government of India. It is an ambitious project aimed at developing an Industrial Zone spanning across six states in India. The project will see major expansion of Infrastructure and Industry – including industrial clusters and rail, road, port, air connectivity – in the states along the route of the Corridor. The ambitious Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) has received major boost with India and Japan inking an agreement to set up a project development fund. The initial size of the Fund will be INR1000 crore (US$167.0 million). Both the Japanese and Indian governments contribute equally.

A band of 150 km to 200km has been chosen on both the sides of the Freight corridor to be developed as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Accordingly, the project influence region of DMIC includes parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

In addition to the influence region, DMIC would also include development of requisite feeder rail/road connectivity to hinterland/markets  and select ports along western coast

Integrated Corridor Development Approach for DMIC:

High impact/market driven nodes- integrated Investment Region (IRs) and Industrial Areas (IAs) identified at strategic locations within the influencing region to provide transparent and investment friendly facility regimes.

These regions are proposed to be self-sustained industrial townships with world-class infrastructure, road and rail connectivity for freight movement to and from ports and logistics hubs, served by domestic/ international air connectivity, reliable power and other quality social infrastructure, and provide a globally competitive environment conducive for setting up businesses.

An Investment Region (IR) would be a specifically delineated industrial region with a minimum area of over 200 square kilometers (20,000 hectares), while an Industrial Area (IA) would be developed with a minimum area of over 100 square kilometers (10,000 hectares).

24 such special investment nodes – 11 IRs and 13 IAs spanning across six states have been identified after wide consultations with the stakeholders’ i.e the State Governments and the concerned Central Ministries. It is proposed that 6 IR and 6 IAs would be taken up for implementation in the 1st Phase during 2008-2012 and rest of the development would be phased out in the next 4 years. The nodes identified for Phase-1 are:

Short listed Investment Regions:

  1. Dadri-Noida-Ghaziabad Investment Region in Uttar Pradesh as General Manufacturing Investment Region;
  2. Manesar-Bawal Investment Region in Haryana as Auto Component/ Automobile Investment Region;
  3. Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana Investment Region in Rajasthan as General Manufacturing/ Automobile/ Auto Component Investment Region;
  4. Pitampur-Dhar-Mhow Investment Region in Madhya Pradesh as General Manufacturing Investment Region;
  5. Bharuch-Dahej Investment Region in Gujarat as Petroleum, Chemical and Petro-Chemical Investment Region (PCPIR);
  6. Gatpuri-Nashik-Sinnar Investment Region in Maharashtra as General Manufacturing Investment Region;
  7. Ahmadabad – Dholera Investment Region in Gujarat as a mega industrial park

Short listed Industrial Areas:

  • Meerut-Muzaffarnagar Industrial Area in Uttar Pradesh, Engineering/ Manufacturing;
  • Faridabad-Palwal Industrial Area in Haryana, Engineering & Manufacturing;
  • Jaipur-Dausa Industrial Area in Rajasthan, Marble/Leather/Textile;
  • Nimach-Nayagaon Industrial Area in Madhya Pradesh, Engineering/ Agro-Processing;
  • Vadodara-Ankleshwar Industrial Area in Gujarat, General Manufacturing;
  • Industrial Area with Greenfield Port at Dighi in Maharashtra.