Passenger trains through Rourkela delayed as freight traffic surges

A reality check reveals that goods trains, primarily transporting minerals, are frequently detained on tracks at Rourkela due to route congestion.
A goods train occupying one platform at the Rourkela station
A goods train occupying one platform at the Rourkela station Photo | Express

ROURKELA : Amidst the increasing emphasis of the South Eastern Railway (SER) on boosting freight revenues, passenger trains on the congested Howrah-Mumbai main line through Rourkela continue to face delays. The situation shows no signs of immediate resolution.

The much-anticipated East-West Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) by the DFC Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL), announced in the 2016-17 railway budget, remains on the drawing board even after eight years.

Reliable sources indicate severe track congestion at Rourkela Junction of the Chakradharpur Division of SER, causing almost all 52 passenger trains to run several hours behind schedule regularly. The daily train traffic through Rourkela has surged to over 170 trains, including nearly 120 goods trains, in recent months.

A reality check reveals that goods trains, primarily transporting minerals, are frequently detained on tracks at Rourkela due to route congestion. There is no progress update on the much-needed East-West DFC through Rourkela. According to the DFCCIL website, the East-West DFC is classified as a proposed new DFC, with the Detailed Project Report (DPR) expected by April 2024. However, no further updates are available. The revised proposal for the East-West DFC, which spans three railway zones, includes two components. The first is the East-West DFC Sub-Corridor-1, with a main line of 2,073 Running Kilometers (Rkm) from Palghar (Maharashtra) to Dankuni (West Bengal). The second is the East-West Sub-Corridor-II, with a spur line of 195 Rkm from Rajkharsawa (Jharkhand) to Andal (West Bengal).

Under the Chakradharpur Division’s jurisdiction, the proposed DFC would start from Jharsuguda in Odisha, pass through Rourkela, enter Rajpur near Tatanagar (Jharkhand), and continue through Adra and Asansol Divisions of Eastern Railway (ER) to meet the recently commissioned Eastern DFC (Dankuni-Ludhiana) at Dankuni.

A senior officer of SER mentioned that four years ago, DFCCIL authorities conducted preliminary track surveys and route finalisations towards Dankuni in consultation with Chakradharpur Division and two separate divisions of Eastern Railway. The Chakradharpur Division suggested a new alignment for the DFC route from Rourkela to cover the Koida Mining Sector in Odisha and the Dongaposi-Pandrasali mining belts of Jharkhand to alleviate congestion on the Howrah-Mumbai main line.

Contacted, SER’s Chakhardharpur division spokesperson and senior divisional commercial manager Aditya Chaudhury stated he is unaware of any further developments regarding the proposed DFC.

Meanwhile, the SER reported a record freight loading of 211.60 million tonnes in the 2023-24 fiscal year, with the trend continuing in the current fiscal year. In a statement on Wednesday, the SER highlighted that it loaded 34.91 million tonnes of originating freight in April and May 2024, generating Rs 3,166.66 crore, up from Rs 3,076.13 crore in the corresponding period of 2023.

Freight business

SER reported a record freight loading of 211.60 million tonnes in the 2023-24 fiscal year

Loaded 34.91 million tonnes of originating freight in April and May 2024

Generated Rs 3,166.66 crore, up from Rs 3,076.13 crore in the corresponding period of 2023

SER Statement

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