An artist’s impression of the Expo 2020 site metro station, which is set to be the biggest and most eco-friendly in the Dubai Metro network. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The Expo Metro station that is part of the under-construction Route 2020 will be the biggest railway station in Dubai, Gulf News can confirm.

Route 2020 is a 14.5-km extension of Dubai Metro that will link the Red Line with the Expo 2020 site near Al Maktoum International airport.

Construction on the Dh10.6-billion extension began in October last year and is expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2020.

To be served by seven stations, including three elevated and two underground stations besides the Expo station, the route will boast new designs and better and more sustainable operation standards.

The biggest and most eco-friendly, the Expo station will be Leed Gold certified and will replicate the model of the flying machine designed by 9th century Andalusian inventor Abbas Bin Firnas.

“Route 2020 is specially designed for the Expo and the station located at Expo site will be a landmark, so we wanted it to carry a legacy that goes beyond its current role, representing both the history of innovation as well as a sustainable future,” said Abdul Reda Abu Al Hassan, executive director, rail planning at RTA’ Rail Agency.

Bigger than the Union Metro station, which is currently the biggest on the Dubai Metro network, the Expo Metro station will have the capacity to handle up to 46,000 passengers per hour.

Located at the site where the Expo 2020 will be held, the station will cover an area of around 30,000 square metres.

“The length of the station will be double the size of the Metro trains which are 87 metres long, the platforms will be wider and the accesibity to the trains will be better. The Expo station will be the biggest on the entire Dubai Metro network, accomodating 23,000 passengers per hour per direction,” said Al Hassan, speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of the Dubai International Government Achievement Exhibition.

Branching out from the Red Line at Nakheel Harbour and Tower station, the new line is expected to serve a population of around 270,000 people living and working in the vicinity of Route 2020, inlcudig Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates and Dubai Investment Park.

“Designing the route was a challenge for us, because most of the surrounding areas are industrial in nature and are not hugely populated. So when we were designing the route, we have to keep the future developments in mind,” he added.

New trains

As part of the upgrade, Dubai Metro will have 50 new trains, 15 of which will serve Route 2020 and the rest will serve the Red and Green lines.

According to Al Hassan the new trains will be equipped with more green features, while also having a few design upgrades.

“The current trains have the ability to generate power through braking, which is used immediately, but the new trains will have the ability to store the power they generate through braking and use it in the future, making them more sustainable,” said Al Hassan.

The trains will have better accessibility and better seating arrangements, which will provide more comfort as well as adding to the capacity.

“We have learnt a lot of lessons throught our operations over the last eight years and we will adopt these lessons to improve the riders’ experience. We realised that the current trains don’t have enough hand straps and one of the things that we are doing is to increase the hand rails and hand straps, which the standing passengers hold on to,” he added.

Route 2020 is being built by Expolink, a consortium of French, Spanish and Turkish firms.