UAE: Over 75 per cent work of rail network is done, says Etihad Rail CEO

Once operational, the service will cover 11 cities and locations from Al Sila to Fujairah


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 17 May 2022, 6:41 PM

Last updated: Tue 17 May 2022, 8:54 PM

More than 75 per cent of the Stage 2 of the UAE national rail network, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region, has been completed, a top executive said in Abu Dhabi.

Stage 1 of the network has been operational since 2016 and Stage 2, which includes the recently linked 256-km railway link between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, has been progressing at an accelerated pace.

“By connecting the country, we are at the start of our journey. 28 months after construction began, where the support of the government allowed us to work throughout the pandemic, we have completed over 75 per cent of our network,” Shadi Malak, CEO, Etihad Rail, said during the 16th edition of Middle East Rail held in Abu Dhabi.

“We are in a privileged position that we can change the face of logistics and mobility in this country, helping to connect industries, businesses and people, supporting tourism, whilst establishing rail as a cornerstone of the UAE’s overarching government initiatives.”

The entire network connects Ghuwaifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to the port of Fujairah. The passenger train service, once operational, will cover 11 cities and locations from Al Sila to Fujairah.

“Our carefully planned solution for passenger travel provides an opportunity, where you can live in one emirate and work in another, without the pressures of driving long distances, paying for fuel, or leaving your family home in another emirate.”

Travelling at a speed of 200km per hour, with a capacity of 400 passengers per train, the number of passengers is expected to increase to reach more than 36 million passengers annually across the country by 2030.

“Having access to rail in every emirate is just the beginning of many new chapters where Etihad Rail is already working on various new products, rail services and integrated opportunities.”

Till April 2022, Etihad Rail has achieved operational success in 264km out of the overall 1,200km network. As many as 42 million tonnes of Sulphur were transported in 4,200 trips amounting to 2.55 million trucks being removed from the road.

“We want to utilise the approach of being customer centric, to benefit all potential end users. By introducing a cheaper, faster, more reliable, and sustainable service, rail will change public perception, on how we move our goods and ourselves. This provides rail the platform to place itself as the frontrunner, logistic and mobility solution in the UAE.”

Malak noted that Etihad Rail aims to enable businesses to thrive and make different logistical decisions that uplift efficiency and provide cheaper alternatives for their business model.

“We are in a position to mould the industry, redefine business models and human behaviour. I truly believe the future of transport is in our hands, and at Etihad Rail we are committed to fostering the vision of our leadership, to play an integral role in sculpting the progression of the UAE for future generations,” Malak added.

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