An Arabic language UAE newspaper said on Wednesday a multi-billion inter-Emirates rail network project will link the country’s two main cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai by 2016. The semi official daily Al Ittihad also added that other parts of the UAE would also be included by 2018.
Etihad Rail, which is working on one of the largest train projects in the Middle East, said it would commence work on the second phase that sees laying of a 510km long railway track linking Abu Dhabi to Jebel Ali and Dubai later this year.
During the first stage Dubai’s Jebel Ali free zone, the largest in the Gulf, will be linked to Musaffah industrial area and Khalifa Port near Abu Dhabi.
“The second phase will link the network in Abu Dhabi to Dubai…it will be completed in 2016-2017 while the third phase to link Jebel Ali with Fujeirah will be finished in 2017-2018,” the Arabic language paper quoted Abdul Rahman al Janahi, planning director at Etihad (union) Rail, as saying.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Rail said in a recent statement that the 1,200-km project could involve investments worth more than AED40 billion ($10.89bn) with a capacity of nearly 16 million passengers a year.
“The capacity could reach 110 million tonnes of cargo and two million containers after the project is linked to the planned rail way in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2030,” it said.
According to Etihad Rail website, the network will connect the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the West and Oman via Al Ain in the East. The federal rail body said the aim of the project is to link principal population and industry centres of the UAE, as well as forming a vital part of the planned GCC railway network. Etihad Rail was established in 2009 in line with a federal decree.
“Once complete, the project will redefine logistics and transport in the region, providing as a safe, efficient, sustainable network that links all corners of the UAE, and eventually, the UAE to the wider GCC…….this extensive investment will support the Government’s continued mission to build a diversified economy and continued economic growth,” the report concluded.