UAE Rail update: All the latest on the train that will link the seven emirates
It’s all right on track…
We’ve put together a consolidatory dispatch from the front line of the passenger train that will link 11 cities across the seven emirates of the UAE.
It’s a massive Dhs50 billion. 1,200km long project with future ambitions that extend beyond our borders and into the rest of the GCC. Sandpiercer, here we come…
Here’s the latest news on Etihad Rail
August 26, 2022: The little engines that could
Turns out ‘doing the locomotion’ isn’t the sole preserve of diminutive antipodean pop stars, nope — the freight-pulling Locomotives of the UAE rail project are a key part of the industrial element of the network, and in keeping with the UAE’s drive for innovation and staying at the forefront of the technological curve, these aren’t your ordinary tank engines.
Etihad Rail has achieved a new milestone with the successful arrival of its new and advanced rolling stock fleet consisting of locomotives and wagons. The first batches arrived in the UAE via Zayed and Al Musaffah Ports, pic.twitter.com/kUJmzLcZjK
— Etihad Rail (@Etihad_Rail) August 18, 2022
Cho0-choo-choosing the right locomotives to get the challenging job done in what, let’s be clear here — are extreme weather and geographical conditions, is extremely important. There’s the intense heat and dryness of the desert, the humidity of the coastal regions and wind that’s capable of kicking up a cinematic quantity of dust. And these bespoke muscle monsters which arrived through Al Mussafah Port this week are absolutely top of the, ahem, line. They have also been constructed to be environmentally friendly, durable, powerful and *blushing* well they’re beautiful aren’t they? No? We know Francis Bourgeois would be on board.
There’s currently 45 of these heavy lifting locomotives, each capable of shifting 1,000 wagons— transporting 60 million tonnes of cargo. The EMD locomotives were built in the USA whilst the multi-functional wagons manufactured in China.
The 200kph passenger train component is being handled by the Spanish company, CAF as part of a 1.2 billion deal to construct and maintain the fleet.
August 5, 2022: Snapped! A stunning aerial view of the rail through the Hajar mountains
As work speeds along, Etihad Rail shared an aerial snap of the tracks cutting through the scene and iconic Hajar mountains. According to Etihad Rail, the National Railway network extends for 145kms and connects the borders of Sharjah, going through Fujairah all the way to Ras Al Khaimah.
June 23, 2022: It’s going to cut commute times by up to 40 per cent
A bold claim, but that’s the beauty of rail travel — no traffic lights, no tram intersections, nobody putting on their hazard lights whilst they reverse up a slip road. And then there’s the speed, the spec sheet that comes with this passenger train is quoting speeds of up to 200kph, with passenger capacities of around 400 users.
Etihad Rail will connect 11 cities and regions in the UAE from Sila’a to Fujairah and contribute to reducing commuting time by up to 40 per cent compared to other land transport means, enhancing transport ecosystems and quality of life for citizens and residents. pic.twitter.com/o3Je3qG2YJ
— مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@admediaoffice) June 23, 2022
June 22, 2022: Construction has begun on a bridge over the Sheikh Zayed Road
Earlier this week we received news that construction was well underway on the Sheikh Zayed Road (E11).
A first look at the latest construction progress of our rail bridge on the E11, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Our bridge built on E11 will enable trains to enter the Jebal Ali rail terminal promoting the facilitation of trade both internationally and regionally. pic.twitter.com/45oGeR323j
— Etihad Rail (@Etihad_Rail) June 22, 2022
November 15, 2021: Construction on the 1,200km network is nearly 70 per cent complete
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When What’s On spoke to Ahmed Al Musawa, Executive Director of Passenger Services Sector at Etihad Rail pertaining to travel time between the emirates, here’s what he said
Ahmed Al Musawa: Train passenger services will enable users to plan their journeys between the emirates and cities more efficiently, significantly decreasing the travel time:
- Traveling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai will take up to 50 minutes
- Traveling from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah will take 100 minutes
- Traveling from Dubai to Fujairah will take 50 minutes.
- Traveling from Abu Dhabi To Ruwais will take 70 minutes
So, which stops/communities the railway will serve?
AAM: The network will extend from Al Sila to Fujairah, Serving 11 cities, towns and communities around the network, including: Ruwais, Al Mirfa, Fujairah, Sharjah, Al Dhaid, Abu Dhabi.
Do we know which station will be completed first?
Well, according to updates, the first completed station will be in Fujairah. Following a site inspection, on a 145km section of the track linking Sharjah to Fujairah Port, His Highness Sheikh Theyab Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed, announced that Spain’s CAF had won a contract to supply and maintain the project’s passenger trains. The agreement was signed in the Sakamkam area of Fujairah City, and will be the site of the first passenger station.
Finally, when can we expect to be travelling on Etihad Rail?
There is no official completion date for the project yet although during a special ‘Projects of the 50’ event held at Expo2020 in December 2021, there were some indicators of intended timeline. It was confirmed that the Rail Passenger Services will be the second phase of the project (after freight) and is expected to carry more than 36.5 million passengers annually, by 2030. But with the network in excess of 70 per cent complete, we could very well be seeing posteriors on seats well before that.