India has opened the new Bhaupur-Khurja section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The new 351km rail link was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was built at a total cost of Rs57.5bn (approx. $786m).

The opening of this section marks a major milestone for engineering and consulting group SYSTRA.

EDFC is being constructed by Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), which has been set up as a special purpose vehicle to build and operate Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC).

On behalf of the DFCCIL, SYSTRA’s Indian team worked on the design, project management, and scheduling of the Bhaupur to Khurja section.

The EDFC is a 1,856km link, starting from Sahnewal near Ludhiana in Punjab. It will pass through the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and end at Dankuni in West Bengal.

DFCC PROJECTS project manager Ashish Ranjan said: “SYSTRA’s outstanding reputation in the rail project management consultancy (PMC) field in India is constantly being reinforced by our extensive involvement in the development of the country’s freight corridors.

“We are pleased to be making a major contribution to this highly strategic infrastructure initiative and I look forward to the successful continuation of our work for DFCCIL.”

An Operation Control Centre (OCC) at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh was also inaugurated on the same occasion. This OCC will serve as the command centre for the entire route length of the EDFC.

The OCC is said to be one of the largest structures of its type.

In July 2015, DCCIL awarded AIL-ATSA an Rs15bn ($233m) systems contract for the 343km section of the EDFC from Bhaupur to Khurja.