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|Locale||West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar,
|Operator(s)||Eastern Railway, East Central Railway|
|Line length||450 km (280 mi)|
|Number of tracks||2/3|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge|
|Operating speed||up to 160 km/h (99 mph)|
Grand Chord is part of the Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line. It acts as a link between Sitarampur, (West Bengal) and Mughal Sarai, Uttar Pradesh, and covers a stretch of 450 km (280 mi). It is a fully electrified, triple line section from Mughalsarai to Dehri-on-sone and double line section from Dehri-on-sone to Asansol. The Grand chord section is the lifeline of the country on which Coal, Steel and other important goods are moved from Eastern section to Western and Northern sections of the country. In the down direction, the traffic consists of mostly food grains, fertilizers and empty wagons for coal loading in the Bihar and West Bengal coal fields. Mughalsarai is a transit division and the main objective is to maintain mobility of high density traffic. The present capacity of the Grand Chord is being optimally utilized. Traversing through Chhota Nagpur plateau of Jharkhand as well as parts of the fertile Gangetic plains of Bihar, the Grand Chord covers a stretch of 450 km (280 mi).
The railways first came to eastern India in 1854, and the Calcutta-Delhi railway link, with a distance of more than 1,636 km (1,017 mi), became operational by 1866. With the increase in traffic it became necessary to construct an alternative route.
With this in view, The Grand Chord section was planned. The Grand Chord section was opened in December 1906 by Lord Minto, then Viceroy and Governor General of India with a function at Gujahandi. With the opening of the Grand Chord route, the distance between Calcutta and Delhi was reduced by 80 km (50 mi). The cost of construction was around ₹415 lakh (US$640,000).
The Grand Chord section is critically important even today, handling major passenger trains on the Howrah-Delhi route, particularly all the Rajdhani Expresses from Howrah, Bhubaneswar and Ranchi and the entire freight traffic, particularly coal, handled by the Dhanbad division of East Central Railway.
The Eastern Corridor encompasses a double line electrified traction corridor from Haldia on the Eastern Railway to Khurja on the North Central Railway (1,270 km or 790 mi) via Grand Chord, Khurja to Dadri on NCR Double Line electrified corridor (46 km or 29 mi) and Single electrified line from Khurja to Ludhiana (412 km or 256 mi) on Northern Railway. The total length works out to 1,379 km (857 mi). So in the Grand Chord section its total 4 parallel track will be run to ease traffic movement on this busy route.
The Eastern Corridor will traverse 6 states and is projected to cater to a number of traffic streams - coal for the power plants in the northern region of U.P., Delhi, Harayana, Punjab and parts of Rajasthan from the Eastern coal fields, finished steel, food grains, cement, fertilizers, lime stone from Rajasthan to steel plants in the east and general goods. The total traffic in UP direction is projected to go up from 38 million tonnes in FY2005-06 to 116 million tonnes in FY2021-22.
In c. 1970, it was said that a goods train passes by every 20 minutes on the Grand Chord line. Now, the frequency has become around 5 minutes making it one of the busiest routes in India. More than 50 mail and express trains use this shorter route apart from 2 dozens of passengers trains.