Etihad Rail launch
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander attended the launch of Emirates railway programme Image Credit: Twitter/HHShkMohd

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, launched the Emirates railway programme – Etihad Rail.

The launch of UAE Railways Program, the largest integrated system for transporting goods and passengers across the country, was launched during a special event celebrating the projects of the 50, was held at Dubai's Expo 2020.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid took twitter to make the announcement. He said, “The Etihad Rail is the largest project to consolidate the strength of the union for the next fifty years. It will connect 11 key cities and regions across the UAE.”

In a series of tweets, the Vice President said that Etihad Rail has made a huge progress in implementation. “The Etihad Rail network represents the spirit of the union, connecting the seven emirates of the UAE with one another, together with the country’s ports.”

Economic opportunities
The UAE Railway Program creates enormous economic opportunities amounting to Dh200 billion; the estimated benefits of reducing carbon emissions amount to Dh21 billion, road maintenance Dh8 billion, in addition to achieving tourism benefits estimated at Dh23 billion during the next 50 years.

“The project embodies the Principles of the 50th. The first national priority is to support the economy and the country’s development. We are proudly embarking on the next 50 years of the UAE’s journey with this ambitious project,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

"The National Railways Program reflects the true meaning of integration into our national economic system, as we see the largest partnership between government entities at the federal and local levels,” said Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “It comes to support a national vision to connect the country’s key centers of industry and production, open new trade routes and facilitate population movement, creating the most developed work and life environment in the region.”

Qualifying and training national cadres

Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said that the Etihad Rail is operated by Emirati talents who possess exceptional experience they gain during Phase one and two, pointing out that the UAE Railways Program provides more than 9000 jobs by 2030.

Malak added that the Rail Passenger Services will enhance the transportation system across the UAE allowing passengers to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100 minutes.

Three strategic projects

The investments of the UAE Railway Program amount to Dh50 billion, 70 per cent of which targets the local market. The program contributes to providing more than 9,000 jobs in the railway sector and supporting sectors by 2030.

The program aims to reduce 70-80 per cent of carbon emissions, a move that supports the UAE's efforts to preserve the environment and achieve its goal of carbon neutrality.

The UAE Railway Program includes three key projects; the first project is the Freight Rail, which includes the Etihad Rail freight services.

The second project is the Rail Passenger Services that aim to connect 11 cities with the UAE from Al Sila to Fujairah. At a speed of 200 km/h the Rail Passenger will connect 11 cities within the UAE, where passengers can travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100 minutes.

By 2030, the number of passengers are expected to reach more than 36.5 million annually.

The third project is the Integrated Transportation Service, where an innovation center will be established to ensure the integration of the smart transportation solutions. A network of light rail will be connected to the Rail Passenger System to facilitate transportation inside UAE cities.

Additionally, smart applications and solutions will also be developed to allow planning and booking trips, integrating logistics operations, port and customs services, and providing integrated logistics solutions.

Etihad Rail
Etihad Rail launched operations of Stage One in 2016. Etihad Rail commenced construction of Stage Two in early 2020, achieving in less than 24 months 70 per cent of this stage, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Etihad Rail has continued to forge ahead and complete the project according to its clearly defined goals and comprehensive work plan.