Indian Railways (IR) is planning to buy 200 high horse power (HP) electric locomotives to use on its proposed $16bn dedicated freight corridor (DFC) project.
Of the 200 locomotives, 40 will be imported from Japan, with the remaining 160 manufactured on home soil, according to the Press Trust of India.
Indian Rail is planning to purchase 9,000HP electric engines, adding to its current 6,000HP locomotives, in a bid to increase freight transport capacity along the corridor.
The 9,000HP electric engines will help Indian Rail haul 6,000t of freight per locomotive, compared to the existing capacity of 5,000t.
Each 9,000HP locomotive is expected to cost an estimated Rs200m ($3.5m), compared to the Rs140m ($2.5m) Indian Rail pays for 6,000HP locomotives.
Procurement of the locomotives is expected to start soon as the DFC is operational, which is scheduled to be by 2017.
The 3,373km DFC, including western and eastern branches, is intended to improve India's rail transport capacity by segregating freight from passenger traffic.
The western corridor will cover around 1,534km from Dadri to Mumbai, passing through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The eastern corridor will have a length of 1,839km, connecting Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal, while passing through the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Indian Railways is planning to complete a 66km section between Mughalsarai and Sonnagar on the eastern corridor by early 2014, following the completion of civil works by the end of 2012.
The DFC is expected to ease congestion and reduce travel times for passenger trains, as well as increase rail transport capacity, improve service quality and boost freight capacity.
Traffic studies carried out by Indian Railways revealed that the existing routes on the western corridor, which carry 25 to 35 freight trains a day, are already saturated and incapable of meeting future transit needs.