Video: How far has UAE's Etihad Rail come?

The 1,200km long network, set to extend from border of Saudi Arabia to border of Oman, has become one of the most keenly awaited projects in the Emirates



Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter
by

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Thu 5 Jan 2023, 1:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 Jan 2023, 5:44 PM

The year 2022 has been a remarkable year for the Etihad Rail, according to a video posted on the network’s social media channels. From January to December, the rail has achieved several milestones including a 75 per cent completion of its 1,200km long UAE network that will extend from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman.

Since being established in June 2009 by a federal mandate, the Etihad Rail has become one of the most keenly awaited projects in the UAE. While businesses look forward to having cost-effective and sustainable transport facilities, many residents are dreaming of being able to navigate the country using trains.

Etihad Rail got off to a flying start in 2022 by redesigning its locomotives in January of the year. The next month, authorities signed an agreement with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) for financing railway passenger transport services, for a total value of Dhs 1.99 billion.

March saw a major development in the largest infrastructure project in the UAE- the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi were connected through a direct rail line. The momentous event was witnessed by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail. Together, they installed the final piece on the railway track, marking the start of a new phase of logistic and economic integration between the two emirates.

The following month, the rail network collaborated with the Dubai Industrial City to build an advanced freight terminal. In May, the 16th edition of Middle East Rail was hosted in Abu Dhabi to outline the roadmap for transforming the transportation and logistics industries in the region. During the event, three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed by Etihad Rail with European companies to exchange knowledge and expertise in the railway sector

In June an agreement was signed with the Spanish company CAF to build, supply and maintain passenger trains. The next month, with the construction of UAE’s first rail marine bridge, Khalifa Port was connected to the mainland. August saw the arrival of the first batch of the new state-of-the-art fleet of trains and wagons. Each of the new diesel-and-electricity-operated locomotives were equipped with the latest filtering technology, which ensures that the train operates at high effectiveness and efficiency when passing through desert regions.

September was a busy month. Etihad Rail participated in the transport technology fair Innotrans 2022 held at Berlin where it signed MoUs with four leading rail companies. It also connected the country’s largest railway freight terminal at Industrial city of Abu Dhabi (ICAD) to the UAE National Rail Network mainline, transitioning to a self-operating model following the conclusion of z knowledge transfer programme with Deutsche Bahn.

In October, the Oman- Etihad rail company was established to build a railway connecting Oman’s Sohar port to the UAE National rail network. During the month the work on the main lines work in the emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah was completed. The following month, Etihad Rail signed an agreement with Borouge to transport 1.3 million tonnes of Polyolefins annually. In December, the first prototype passenger train was revealed during the National Day grand celebrations.

The railway network is on track to accelerate the completion of the network, which when completed will connect all seven emirates and 11 major cities and is expected to revolutionize travel in the country.

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