The heavy-haul line will be built by a joint venture of Tata Projects India and Aldesa, Spain, which beat off competition from 10 other bidders for the contract.

DFCCIL says it adopted a three-stage bidding process which allowed international bidders to include alternative technologies for the construction of heavy-haul lines. These technologies were evaluated in the second stage, and financial bids were invited only after detailed scrutiny of the technical offers.

Construction is due to begin by the end of March on the Khurja – Kanpur section, and the first trains are expected to run in 2017. The Eastern DFC will be built for 32.5 tonne axleloads and 15,000 tonne trains.