The World Bank on Thursday committed to finance the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor by signing a $975 million loan agreement with Ministry of Finance and Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL).

Three phases

The World Bank has decided to finance 1,130 km out of the 1,839 km length of the EDFC in three phases and Thursday's agreement covers the construction of 343 km of the section between Khurja and Kanpur, which would not only raise the axle load limit but also enable the freight trains to gain speeds upto 100 km an hour.

The agreement was signed by World Bank Country Director Roberto Zagha and Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Venu Rajamony and DFCCIL Project Director Anshuman Sharma. The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a maturity period of 22 years, including a seven-year grace period. The EDFC along with the Western DFC, when completed, will decongest the present routes allowing for faster movement of passenger trains, besides speeding up goods trains in these regions which account for the country's 50 per cent of rail freight. The DFCs are not only expected to increase the railway's freight market share but also help the country in progressively extending the network to cover other important freight routes.

Since the DFC is expected to be operated entirely through electric locomotives, a reduction in green house gas emission is expected, according to studies conducted by the DFCCIL.