Abu Dhabi: Etihad Rail and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) signed a Dh1.99 billion agreement for financing railway passenger transport services on Thursday.
The agreement comes as part of the UAE National Railways Programme, the largest land transport system of its kind in the UAE, where First Abu Dhabi Bank will be the certified lead arranger for the loan.
The railway passenger services will connect 11 cities and locations in the UAE from Al Sila to Fujairah. Travelling at a speed of 200 kmph, with a capacity of 400 passengers per train, the number of passengers is expected to increase to reach more than 36.5 million passengers annually across the country by 2030.
Passengers will be able to commute between Abu Dhabi to Dubai in only 50 minutes, between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah in only 100 minutes, between Dubai and Fujairah in only 50 minutes, and between Abu Dhabi and Al Ruwais in only 70 minutes.
The agreement was signed by Eng. Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Hana Al Rostamani, Group CEO at First Abu Dhabi Bank.
“Through this agreement, we will move full steam ahead with our mission to provide passenger railway services, which will bolster public transport system in the UAE and the wider region. Etihad Rail is an essential component of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rail network, and this agreement brings us one step closer towards realising our strategic goals of strengthening the UAE’s reputation as a regional and global transport hub,” said the Etihad Rail CEO.
Al Rostamani hailed Etihad Rail for bringing “significant economic and social benefits to the businesses and communities it serves”.
Etihad Rail’s passenger service is one of the three strategic projects of the National Railways Programme, which was launched by the UAE government in December 2021. It is forging ahead towards completing Stage Two of the UAE National Rail Network. Stage One of the network has been operational since 2016.