The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation is gearing up to set up more than 100 railway stations and terminals -- all of them "specially designed" -- along the 3,360-km-long, much-delayed network linking the eastern and western seaboards to the northern heartland.
Besides, the dedicated freight corridor, known as DFC, will have as many as 12 private freight terminals, 15 private sidings and 10 goods sheds to cater to over 300 million tonnes of traffic a year from 2020-21.
Designs of these new DFC buildings will be influenced by local culture and architecture so that they become iconic structures of the area's skyline, a senior official of the Corporation said.
"Special care has been taken that all the station buildings reflect the heritage of the region," the official told IANS, not wishing to be identified.
Passing through nine states and 60 districts, the Rs 814.59 billion project will have 48 stations and junctions along the Western DFC and 58 in the Eastern DFC.
While the Western DFC will cover 1,504 km from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust near Navi Mumbai to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, traversing through Vadodara-Ahmedabad-Palanpur-Phulera-Rewari, the Eastern DFC covers 1,856 km from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni, near Kolkata in West Bengal, and will traverse the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
"Many private players have shown interest to build multi-modal logistics parks and terminals along the corridor to facilitate value addition -- including packaging, labelling, retailing and transportation of goods on the dedicated route," the official said.
All the newly-designed station buildings are expected to be ready before the corridor becomes operational in 2020-21.
There is a focus on station buildings as economic activities get a boost around the rail stations and terminals.
The Western DFC -- a section of which (between Ateli in Haryana and Phulera in Rajasthan) opened for a trial run on August 15 -- is expected to largely carry petroleum products, imported fertilisers and coal besides steel and iron among others in double-stack containers.
According to initial estimate, Western DFC will carry about 152.24 milliion tonnes (MT) of goods in 2020-21.
The Eastern DFC aims to speed up the movement of coal, cement, fertilisers, foodgrain and general goods, among others. The expected traffic on the Eastern DFC is 153.23 MT in 2020-21.
The Western and Eastern DFCs -- both of which will be fully electrified -- will intersect at Dadri, near Delhi.
Also, in a first for Indian Railways, there will be a time table for freight trains once the DFCs are operational.
The eastern wing of the DFC is being funded by the World Bank and western side is being financed by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, or JICA.