India’s Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC) has invited pre-qualification bids of Rs80bn ($1.5bn) for a 625km stretch of the western rail freight corridor that will run from Delhi to Mumbai.

The project involves construction of a double electrified rail track with two 25 kV AC 50Hz overhead catenary systems, which will increase the axle-load limit from 22.9t to 25t as well as allow trains to ply at a speed of 100km/h.

Work also includes construction of embankments / cuttings, ballast on formation, track works, bridges, structures and buildings, and includes the testing and commissioning on a design-build basis of the 623km stretch linking Rewari (Haryana) and Ikbalgarh (Gujarat.

DFCC has re-tendered the contract as three consortiums that were previously selected could not meet the criteria, which rules that a Japanese company must be the lead partner.

Under the rules set by DFCC, a Japanese company will have at least a 51% stake and will be responsible for execution of the contract as the entire 1,534km western corridor is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The DFCC has also completed land acquisition in Maharashtra, as well as completed one of the 54 major bridges near Sanjan in Gujarat between Surat and Mumbai.

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Phase 1 of the western corridor project from Rewari to Vadodra, Gujarat, is scheduled to be completed by December 2016, while the entire corridor project from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port is expected to be complete by March 2017.

The western corridor project is part of a Rs700bn ($13.5bn) dedicated freight corridor project the country is planning to build, which also includes the 1,839km eastern corridor project.

The eastern corridor project will ease congestion and reduce travel time for passenger trains on the arterial Ludhiana-Delhi-Mughal Sarai railway route, as well as increase rail transport capacity, improve service quality and create higher freight capacity.

DFCC is also seeking tenders for the Rs60bn ($1.1bn) eastern corridor and construction companies including China Railway First Group, Spanish firms Corsan and OHL, Turkey-based Alarko and Leighton, and a number of Indian companies are bidding for a 350km stretch.

The eastern corridor project from Ludhiana to Dankuni is expected to be completed by December 2016.