DUBAI: The UAE launched its national rail network on February 23, kicking off freight train operations across the emirate.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the network, saying that the national railway network is an important milestone in the UAE’s development history and one that will help strengthen the The country prepares for an ambitious project future in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below is a breakdown of the project’s key highlights.
What is a freight train network?
The freight train network stretches across the UAE, from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman, with a fleet of 38 locomotives and more than 1,000 wagons capable of transporting all types of cargo. According to WAM (Emirates News Agency), freight trains will run at a speed of 120 km/h.
The cargo network will link four major ports from Guwaifat to Fujairah via Mussafa, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali. It will also link seven logistics areas, transporting 60 million tons of goods per year.
The network also includes charging stations located in Ruwais, Industrial City Abu Dhabi (ICAD), Khalifa Port, Dubai Industrial City, Jebel Ali Port, Al Ghail and Fujairah Port. These locations are major hubs for local and regional distribution and logistics services as they include customs warehouses and on-site cargo inspection services.
Things to come: The UAE’s national rail network
The project plan for the national railway network in the UAE includes the construction of 593 bridges and crossings of various types, as well as nine tunnels with a total length of 6.5 kilometers.
Over the next 50 years, the network is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 70% to 80% and support the UAE’s efforts to protect the environment and achieve carbon neutrality goals.
The Emirates Rail program includes three key projects; the first project is Freight Rail, which includes the Etihad Rail freight service.
The second project is a passenger rail service designed to connect 11 cities in the UAE, from Al Sila to Fujairah. At a speed of 200 kilometers per hour, the passenger rail service will allow passengers to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100 minutes. Dates will be announced at a later date.
Passenger numbers are expected to reach more than 36.5 million per year by 2030.
The third project, Integrated Transportation Services, will establish an innovation center to ensure the integration of smart transportation solutions and provide integrated logistics solutions. The light rail network will be connected to the passenger rail system to facilitate mobility within UAE cities.
In addition, smart applications and solutions will be developed to allow planning and booking of trips, integrate logistics operations, port and customs services, and provide integrated logistics solutions.
Last September, Etihad Rail has also signed an agreement with Oman Railways Jointly established the Oman-Etihad Railway Company to develop a 303-kilometer railway line between Sohar and Abu Dhabi, reducing the travel time between the two cities to 1 hour and 40 minutes, and connecting Sohar to Abu Dhabi. Al Ain’s travel time is reduced to 47 minutes at a top speed of 200 km/h.