UAE Vice President flags off 900km national rail network


The UAE National Railway Network is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region and aims to link the seven emirates with a main railway network….reports Asian Lite News

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, attended the inauguration of the 900 km UAE National Railway Network and affirmed that the project will contribute to strengthening the country’s preparations for the future.

The ambitious development project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region and aims to link the seven emirates with a main railway network.

 “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 propel our national economy to greater heights,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“Connecting the Emirates via a national railway network strengthens our capabilities and competitiveness, and consolidates our unity.”

The Vice President witnessed the inauguration at the main centre for control and maintenance, in Al Fayah region, Abu Dhabi. He also launched the cargo train operations across all the emirates.

Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Etihad Rail, noted that the UAE is keen to strengthen its union though launching new mega projects such as the UAE National Railway Network, which connects the seven Emirates and accelerate the country’s economic development.

“Emirati talents, with the support of the UAE leadership, have turned the dream of our founding fathers into reality,” Sheikh Theyab said.

“Thanks to them, we won the bet, and we succeeded in launching a railway network with international specifications that extends to about 900 kilometres across the Emirates. We announce the inauguration operation of the freight trains throughout the UAE with a fleet of 38 locomotives and more than 1,000 wagons capable of transporting all types of goods.”

He pointed out that the completion of the network according to the schedule and the approved budget, would not have been possible without the cohesion of talented Emirati cadres.

The network contributes to supporting companies’ businesses and enhancing investment opportunities. The main line of the UAE National Rail Network extends from Ghuweifat on the border of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to Fujairah, forming an essential part of the global supply network.

The stage one of the Network has been fully operational since January 2016, where the stage two of the project started in early 2020.

The UAE national railway network will contribute to supporting the national economy at a value of AED200 billion, and saving AED8 billion in the cost of road maintenance. The network’s tourism benefits are estimated at AED23 billion.

The project has contributed to supporting the local industry by assigning 215 companies and local entities. Also, 70 percent of the building materials used in the project are produced by the local industry.

The project also supports the UAE’s sustainable development goals and contributes to achieving the UAE Net Zero by 2050, through reducing carbon emissions in the road transport sector by 21 percent, and reducing road transportation emissions per capita by 40 percent, by 2050.

This national project contributed to supporting the Emiratisation agenda and graduating qualified cadres to work in the sector. Now Emirati nationals are taking over a number of technical positions at Etihad Rail, including the roles of train captain, traffic controller, train inspector in addition to other specialisations.

The UAE national railway network passes through a variety of geographical terrains, within a large-scale engineering plan that includes the construction of 593 bridges and crossings of all types, and 9 tunnels with a length of 6.5 km. It took 120 million cubic metres of excavation work to complete, to ensure the highest levels of vehicular traffic flow under the tracks of the railway network.

The fleet of the most modern freight trains in the region includes 38 locomotives, with a capacity of 60 million tonnes of goods annually, and more than 1,000 multi-purpose vehicles.

Each goods transport’s locomotive operates with a power of 4,500 horsepower, equivalent to 3,400 kilowatts. It is one of the most powerful freight train engines in the Middle East.

The trains will run up to 120 km/h. The standard width of the rail is 1,435 metres, and it operates under the European ETCS level 2 signalling system. It has been specially designed to withstand the geographical nature, climatic conditions, high temperatures and humidity in the GCC region, to ensure high levels of performance, efficiency and sustainability.

The trains will connect 4 major ports. It will include 7 logistics centres across the country, to serve trains and related businesses.

The network also includes a number of charging stations located in Ruwais, Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), Khalifa Port, Dubai Industrial City, Jebel Ali Port, Al Ghail and Fujairah Port. These locations are a major hub for local and regional distribution and logistics services, as it includes customs warehouses and on-site cargo inspection services.

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