The Indian Railways' quadrilateral linking the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah, commonly known as the Golden Quadrilateral; and its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah), adding up to a total route length of 10,122 km comprising of 16% of the route carried more than 52% of the passenger traffic and 58% of revenue earning freight traffic of IR. The existing trunk routes of Howrah-Delhi on the Eastern Corridor and Mumbai-Delhi on the Western Corridor were highly saturated, line capacity utilization varying between 115% to 150%. Railways lost the share in freight traffic from 83% in 1950-51 to 35% in 2011-12. Not only this, the National highways along these corridors comprising 0.5% of the road network carried almost 40% of the road freight.
The surging power needs requiring heavy coal movement, booming infrastructure construction and growing international trade led to the conception of the Dedicated Freight Corridors along the Eastern and Western Routes, to begin with.
DFCCIL will decongest already saturated road network & promote shifting of freight transport to more efficient rail transport. This shift is expected to offer significant reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in transport sector in India. It is expected that DFC will save more than 450 million ton of CO2 in first 30 years of operation (Assessment based on Ernst & Young study).