Etihad Rail/Opinion
Etihad Rail Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been officially linked to the main railway of Etihad Rail, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the UAE.

Established in June 2009 under Federal Law No. 2, Etihad Rail is mandated to manage the development, construction and operation of the UAE’s national freight and passenger railway network.

The final piece on the railway track was installed by Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Shaikh Theyab bin Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail on Tuesday.

The move marks the start of a new phase of logistic and economic integration between the two emirates, which will in time stretch to other emirates and beyond. Once the passenger service starts, the hi-tech trains will — with their swanky coaches and stylish interiors and comfortable seats — will redefine travel in the UAE.

Engineered as a green option, the electricity-powered train is expected to decrease the number of cars on the road, greatly reducing the country’s emissions.

A labour of love

Close to 13,300 workers worked on 250 kilometres and 29 bridges, 60 crossings and 137 drainage channels to complete this mega project that will eventually link the entire country, giving residents and tourists the chance to see all seven emirates of the UAE. Travelling at a speed of 200km per hour, 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 by 2030.

Etihad Rail will reduce the distance from Abu Dhabi to Dubai to 50 minutes, between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah to 100 minutes, between Dubai and Fujairah to 50 minutes, and between Abu Dhabi and Al Ruwais to 70 minutes.

Carrying freight and goods too, the railway network will link the principal centres of trade, industry, manufacturing, production, logistics across major import and export points of the UAE to form an integral part of the GCC railway network.

Hailing the project, Shaikh Maktoum noted, “The completion of the main railway track represents an important pivotal phase that shows the great benefits of such a national project in linking all the emirates of the country and enhancing the transportation process between industrial and economic centers, and facilitating transportation within the UAE.”