Etihad Rail has announced the launch of the UAE National Rail Network, an ambitious project spanning 900 kilometers that will link the seven emirates with their main railways. The trunk line runs from Al-Guwifat on the Saudi border to the northern emirate of Fujairah.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, witnessed the inauguration of the national railway network at the network’s main control and maintenance center in Al Fayah, Abu Dhabi.
Hailing the key achievement, Sheikh Mohamed said the national rail network is a major milestone in the UAE’s development history and an ambitious project that will help strengthen the country’s readiness for the future.
“We are proud of the performance of our sons and daughters who have worked hard over the years to build an ambitious strategic project that will drive our national economy to the next level. Connecting the UAE through the national rail network strengthens our capabilities and competitiveness, And strengthened our unity,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
The ambitious development is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region and aims to connect the seven emirates to the main rail network.
Etihad Rail said that while freight train operations are fully operational in all emirates, passengers wanting to travel on the rails will still have to wait for some time.
Announcing the milestone, Sheikh Theab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Etihad Rail, said: “With the support of the UAE leadership, Emirati talents have turned the dream of our Founding Fathers into reality. Thanks to them, We have won the bet and we have successfully launched a railway network of international specifications that stretches some 900 kilometers across the emirate.”
This network helps to support the company’s business and increase investment opportunities. He pointed out that the backbone of the UAE’s national railway network, which runs from Guwait at the border of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Fujairah, forms an important part of the global supply network.
Sheikh Theyab has also launched freight train operations across the UAE, with a fleet of 38 locomotives and over 1,000 wagons capable of transporting a wide range of cargo.
He added: “Without the cohesion of our talented Emirati cadre, it would not have been possible to complete the network on schedule and within the approved budget.”
It was a massive project involving 11 contractors, 25 consultants and 28,000 specialists who worked 133 million man-hours on the project and received 40,000 approvals from 180 government agencies.
Over 1,000 operational documents have been produced, including instructions, manuals, guidelines, policies, operating procedures, protocols, and more.
The first phase of the network was fully operational in January 2016 and the second phase of the project started in early 2020.
The railway network traverses various geographical terrains, in a large-scale engineering program that includes the construction of 593 bridges and crossings of various types and 9 tunnels with a length of 6.5 kilometers.
According to Etihad Rail, 120 million cubic meters will be required to complete the excavation work to ensure maximum vehicular traffic flow under the rail network tracks.
The most modern freight train fleet in the region includes 38 locomotives with an annual freight capacity of 60 million tons and more than 1,000 multipurpose vehicles.
Each freight locomotive has 4,500 horsepower, equivalent to 3,400 kilowatts. It is one of the most powerful freight train engines in the Middle East.-TradeArabia News Service