The tracks that connect Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah to the country's rail network have been completed, it was announced on Wednesday.
Set to take passengers on a scenic route across the mountains, the main line of the UAE National Rail Network — which starts at Ghuweifat on the border of Saudi Arabia — passes through the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the national rail network, is now moving towards finishing the tracks in Fujairah within the coming weeks.
The latest development, which comes as part of the last package of stage two of the mega project, brings Etihad Rail closer to completing the entire network on schedule, the authorities said.
"This plays a key role in opening up new prospects in the logistics and transport industry, driving social development, and providing promising economic opportunities in the UAE and the region across a range of sectors," said engineer Khuloud Al Mazrouei, deputy project Manager at Etihad Rail.
Around 3,250 workers spent 13 million hours within a span of 25 months to complete the tracks in the two emirates.
Here's a short clip of the construction:
The line in Sharjah extends over 45km and is part of the last package of the project, which is 145km in length. This part of the track alone took 11.7 million work hours. In Ras Al Khaimah, the line stretches to over 5.7km.
“We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the local government entities in the emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah for their momentous support in making this project a reality," said Al Mazrouei.
"We are also proud to witness this step further drive the success of Etihad Rail in developing the strategic national project, particularly after the consecutive achievements that we have made, most recently connecting the railway freight station in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi with the main line."
The line in the last package of stage two involved the construction of 54 bridges and 20 animal crossings. It has 9 tunnels which extend over 6.9km along Al Hajar Mountains. It also includes the longest tunnel in the GCC for heavy cargo, which extends over 1.8km. This line passes through one of the most difficult geographical areas due to the mountainous terrain surrounding it.
As Etihad Rail takes shape, residents in Dubai have started hearing train honks in their suburban neighbourhoods, evoking a sense of nostalgia, especially in the mornings.
A couple of weeks ago, a landmark agreement was also signed to establish a railway network that will cut travel time between the UAE and Oman to as short as 47 minutes.
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