UAE launches National Rail Network operations
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Sheikh Mohammed witnesses launch of UAE National Railway Network operations

Sheikh Mohammed witnesses launch of UAE National Railway Network operations

The ambitious development project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region and aims to link the seven emirates with a main railway network

Sheikh Mohammed at the inauguration of the UAE National Railway Network Photo courtesy WAM

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, witnessed the inauguration of operations of the UAE National Railway Network,  in Al Fayah, Abu Dhabi, on Thursday, February 23.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the railway network is an important milestone in the UAE’s development journey and an ambitious project that contributes to strengthening the country’s preparations for the future, according to the state news agency, WAM.

The ambitious development project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region and aims to link the seven emirates with a main railway network.

Sheikh Mohammed also launched cargo train operations across all the emirates.

According to WAM, Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of Etihad Rail, said: “Emirati talents, with the support of the UAE leadership, have turned the dream of our founding fathers into reality. Thanks to them, we won the bet, and we succeeded in launching a railway network with international specifications that extends to about 900 kilometres across the Emirates.

“We announce the inauguration operation of the freight trains throughout the UAE with a fleet of 38 locomotives and more than 1,000 wagons capable of transporting all types of goods.”

UAE National Railway Network: Highlights

  • Stage one of the network has been fully operational since January 2016, whereas stage two of the project started in early 2020.
  • The UAE National Railway Network will contribute to supporting the national economy at a value of Dhs200bn, and saving Dhs8bn in the cost of road maintenance. The network’s tourism benefits are estimated at Dhs23bn.
  • The project has contributed to supporting the local industry by assigning 215 companies and local entities. Also, 70 per cent of the building materials used in the project are produced by the local industry.
  • The project also supports the UAE’s sustainable development goals and contributes to achieving the UAE Net Zero by 2050, by reducing carbon emissions in the road transport sector by 21 per cent, and reducing road transport emissions per capita by 40 per cent, by 2050.
  • Eleven contractors, 25 consultants, and 28,000 specialists worked on the project. It took 133 million working hours to complete and received 40,000 approvals from 180 government agencies, WAM reported.
  • The UAE national railway network passes through a variety of geographical terrains and includes the construction of 593 bridges and crossings of all types and nine tunnels with a length of 6.5 kilometres.
  • It took 120 million cubic metres of excavation work to complete, to ensure the highest levels of vehicular traffic flow under the tracks of the railway network.
  • The fleet of the most modern freight trains in the region includes 38 locomotives, with a capacity of 60 million tonnes of goods annually, and more than 1,000 multi-purpose vehicles.
  • Each goods transport’s locomotive operates with a power of 4,500 horsepower, equivalent to 3,400 kilowatts. It is one of the most powerful freight train engines in the Middle East.
  • The freight trains, which will run up to 120 km/h will connect four major ports, and include seven logistics centres across the country, to serve trains and related businesses, according to WAM.
  • 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.

Read: Etihad Rail connects railway freight terminal at ICAD to UAE National Rail Network’s main line

These locations are a major hub for local and regional distribution and logistics services, as it includes customs warehouses and on-site cargo inspection services.

The UAE National Railway Network will see the transport of all types of goods, including petrochemicals, raw steel, limestone, cement, building materials, industrial and domestic waste, aluminum, food commodities and general cargo.

In other news, Oman and Etihad Rail Company, the developer and operator of the UAE-Oman Rail Network, and Mubadala recently inked a cooperation agreement to develop the 303km railway network, which will connect Oman and the UAE, at an overall investment value of 3bn.

Also read: Oman and Etihad Rail Company, Mubadala partner to develop 303km rail network

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