The Railways is all set to eliminate 902 level crossings on an over 3,000 km-long-rail line networking across the country with the dual aim to accelerate goods trains' average speed and check accidents.
The concrete plan of action is likely to be part of the Rail Budget 2013-14.
Railways has about 32,649 level crossings on its 65,000-km long track in the country.
"The elimination of these 902 level crossings is estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore and the job will be carried out on cost sharing basis with nine states - Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal," a senior railway official said.
The level crossings will be replaced either by road under-bridges or over-bridges. Eleven crossings would be closed down permanently by diverting traffic on those roads.
"Under-bridges will come up at 538 places, while over-bridges will be constructed at 320 sites. The decision to replace 53 level crossings with either under-bridges or over-bridges will be shortly taken," the official said.
The construction of over-bridges and under-bridges is to be carried out by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC) as the existing rail track is parallel to the proposed 3338-km-long freight corridor.
"There will be no level crossing in the dedicated freight corridor as the surface crossing will be seamless for goods trains," a senior DFCC official said, adding, "but since the DFC track will be running parallel to the existing track we have to do away with 902 level crossings coming along the existing line."
There will be a standard modular design for all the road over-bridges and under-bridges and work will be executed by a single agency.
"Currently we are in discussion with state governments to sign agreement for having a single agency to execute the work as it will expedite the process," the official said.
Goods trains run at an average speed of 25 km per hour on the existing track due to congestion but the freight movement will be speeded up to 65 kmph once the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) is constructed.
The fund for construction of road over-bridges and under-bridges will be availed from the road user safety fund.
DFCC has engaged a special purpose vehicle for planning, construction, operation and maintenance of the dedicated freight corridors. The 1,839-km-long Eastern DFC is to link Ludhiana with Dankuni, while the 1,499-km-long Western DFC is from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port.
The Western Corridor is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Eastern Corridor is part-funded by the World Bank.