New Delhi: Railways expects over 50 percent reduction in green house gas emissions (GHG) from movement of freight traffic once its proposed dedicated freight corridors come into operation.
A 'carbon footprint analysis' conducted by Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation for the Eastern corridor shows this section would be much more environment friendly despite the higher load, which it has to handle.
"The corridor is expected to generate 2.25 times less carbon emissions when compared to a scenario where the freight is transported through existing network," a Railway Ministry official said.
"Eastern corridor is expected to generate about 10.48 million tons of GHG emissions up to 2041-42, as against 23.29 millions of GHG emissions in the absence of corridor – a 55 percent reduction of GHG emissions," the official said.
The Eastern corridor will run between Ludhiana and Dankuni handling an axle-load limit of 25 tons as against the existing load of 22.9 tons and a speed of up to 100 kmph.
Transport specialist and task team leader Ben L J Eijbergen said the project will lead to an actual reduction from 12.3 million tons of GHGs to 4.3 million tons.
Apart from the Eastern corridor, a Western corridor will also come up, with freight trains being hauled by electric locos, giving further scope for reduction of GHGs.
Last Thursday, the World Bank had signed a USD 975 million loan agreement with the government for funding of 1,130 km out of a total of 1,839 km of the Eastern corridor.
Both the corridors are expected to be completed by 2017. The dedicated freight corridors aims at helping the country take a quantum leap in increasing the Railways' transportation capacity by building high-capacity along the golden quadrilateral connecting the four rail routes that connect Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Currently, these routes account for just 16 percent of the railway network's length, but carry more than 50 percent of India's total rail freight, railway officials said.
The proposed corridor will meet Railways' need to add freight routes to meet the growing freight traffic in the country, which is projected to increase more than 7 percent annually.
The corridors are also expected to decongest the already saturated rail network and promote the shifting of freight transport from road to more efficient rail transport.
The Eastern corridor will also help ease congestion that choke the railway system and reduce travel-time for passenger trains on the arterial Ludhiana-Delhi-Mughal Sarai routes.