DFCCIL to Operationalize World’s 1st Electrified Double-Stack Container Tunnel in a Year

A one-km-long tunnel has been cut through the Aravallis on the railway’s Western Dedicated Freight Corridor near Haryana’s Sohna with a plan to ply electric goods train with double-stack containers through it in the next 12 months, officials said yesterday (Friday, 24th July 2020).

Engineers had to blast through 2,500 to 500 million-years-old proterozoic rocks to build the world’s first electried double-stack container tunnel. The last blasting was completed yesterday. “This means the excavation work for the one-kilometre tunnel is complete and it is now through,” an official said.

Once operational, a double-stack container goods train will be able to run at a speed of more than 100 kmph in this tunnel. It connects Mewat and Gurgaon districts of Haryana, and negotiates a steep gradient on the uphill and downhill slope of the Aravallirange.

“Tunnel-breaking ceremony marks the completion of the tunnel caving work at the WDFC’s (Western Dedicated Freight Corridor) one-km-long tunnel through the Aravallis near Sohna in Haryana,” implementing agency of the project, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) said, in a statement.

A spokesperson said they are looking to complete it in “the next 12 months”. Geologically, the tunnel is safe and stable as it is caved through 2,500 to 500 million-years-old proterozoic rocks, mainly quartzite, schists and slates of Alwar/Azabgarh groups of Delhi supergroup rocks, which have high bearing capacity, according to the statement.

The D-shaped tunnel has a cross-sectional area of 150 square metres to accommodate double line with higher overhead equipment to enable double-stack container movement on the freight corridor. Cross-sectional area wise, it is one of the biggest railway tunnels in India. One end of the tunnel is near Rewari while the other end is at Dadri. The dimension of tunnel is 14.5 metre in width and 10.5 metre in height in straight portion, and 15 metre wide and 12.5 metre height to provide extra clearance while negotiating the curve.

“Tunnelling work has been done systematically and in a planned manner from both the ends by deploying high-tech man and machinery. This is the reason behind completing the caving work in a record one-year time,” the DFCCIL said in the statement.

There are a total of six tunnels in both the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors. “Despite the coronavirus pandemic, work is progressing at a fast and resolute pace in DFCCIL. The Eastern (excluding the PPP section) and Western DFC is slated for completion in June 2022,” according to the statement.