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Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The UAE launched its national railway network on February 23, inaugurating the freight trains operations throughout the UAE.

Inaugurating the network, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, called the national railway network an important milestone in the UAE's development journey, and an ambitious project that contributes to strengthening the country’s preparations for the future.

Here is a breakdown of the major highlights of this project.

What is the freight train network?

The freight trains network extends across the UAE, from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman, and has a fleet of 38 locomotives and more than 1,000 wagons capable of transporting all types of goods. The freight trains will run up to a speed of 120km/h, as reported by WAM (Emirates News Agency).

The freight network will connect four major ports, from Ghuwaifat, to Fujairah, through Musaffah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali. It will also connect seven logistical areas, transporting 60 million tonnes of goods annually.

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 they include customs warehouses and on-site cargo inspection services.

What’s coming: The UAE’s national railway network

The UAE national railway network’s engineering plan includes the construction of 593 bridges and crossings of all types, and nine tunnels with a total length of 6.5 km.

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Over the next 50 years, this network is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 70 to 80 per cent and support the UAE’s efforts to preserve the environment and achieve its goal of carbon neutrality.

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

The second project is the Passenger Rail service, which aims to connect 11 cities in the UAE, from Al Sila to Fujairah. At a speed of 200 km/h, the passenger rail service will allow passengers to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100 minutes. The dates will be announced later.

By 2030, the number of passengers is 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 and provide integrated logistics solutions. A network of light rail will be connected to the Rail Passenger System to facilitate transportation within 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.

Oman-Etihad Rail Company

In September last year, Etihad Rail also signed an agreement with Oman Rail to jointly establish the Oman-Etihad Rail Company and develop a 303-km railway link between Sohar and Abu Dhabi, reducing the travel time between the two cities to one hour 40 minutes, and from Sohar to Al Ain to 47 minutes, travelling at a maximum speed of 200 km/h.