In the latest development of the ambitious UAE National Railway project, the state-owned company and leading force behind the venture- Etihad Rail- joined hands with US-based Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) in a contract that shall oversee the latter delivering seven heavy haul freight locomotives to the country by 2012.
A global pioneer in the manufacture of diesel-electric locomotives, EMD landed the contract after a ?competitive tender process?. The value of the deal being as of yet unknown, Etihad Rail hailed it with much optimistic fervor, with CEO Richard Bowker terming it a ?momentous milestone? in the progress of the project.
He further stated, ?We are excited to be working with Electro-Motive Diesel as we are confident they will be able to provide stage 1 of our railway with locomotives designed and engineered to withstand the demanding climatic conditions of this region.?
The deal comes as the master developer and operator of the planned railway actively pursues a 2013 target-deadline to launch the first phase of the project which aims to set trains rolling on a 266 km track in the Western Region.
Trains commuting via the route are predicted to carry 22,000 tons of granulated sulphur on a daily basis across the Western Region from areas such as Shah and Habshan that are rich sources of the mineral, to the port of Ruwais for export.
The route forms part of a 1200 km mixed-traffic railway system which shall span across the seven Emirates, additionally connecting the nation to Saudi Arabia in the west and Oman in the east. The Dhs. 40 billion project comes as the six GCC states plan to introduce a regional railway system expected to cost $100 bn (approximately Dhs. 365 bn) by 2017 to facilitate trade and socio-economic development in the Gulf.