Development plans continue for UAE railway

UAE railway“We attach great importance to the UAE railway transport and its development in the next decades. The completion of the rail network was a success and in the next years AED 50 billion [USD 13.6 billion] will be invested to develop our railway system. The United Arab Emirates promoted this sector and dedicated money for its expansion to country’s border. This mode of transport allows the reduction of travel time and costs while limiting CO2 emissions by 70-80%. Each transport is removing 300 trucks off the roads which will help us to meet the objective to reduce the GHG emissions,” the UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, said at the Middle East Rail, held in Abu Dhabi on 15 – 16 May.

Under the “Projects of the 50”, a UAE strategy to implement projects aiming at accelerating and transforming country’s economy development, in December 2021 was launched the UAE Railway Programme with an investment worth AED 50 billion (USD 13.6 billion).

The strategy is focused on three pillars with the first one – freight services – being accomplished in February when Etihad Rail completed the rail network and launched the freight servicess across the country. “We delivered our first objective and completed the UAE railway network and we are planning to increase freight volume. This will help us to achieve our objective to reduce CO2 emissions and will contribute to economic development,” the Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, Shadi Malak, said at the conference.

The country’s 1,200 km railway system extends from Ghuweifat, west of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, at the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah, at the Gulf of Oman, which would be linked with Sohar Port ans Muscat, in Oman. This plan will be implemented under a joint venture between Etihad Rail and Oman Rail (the Oman and Etihad Rail Company) under which a 303 km rail line will be constructed to provide the cross-border rail connection.

The second pillar of the railway strategy is focused on the development of passenger services aiming at linking 11 cities from Fujairah to Al Sila, 560 km west, in the western region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. At the beginning of 2022, Etihad Rail and the First Abu Dhabi Bank signed a USD 544.6 million agreement for the financing of passenger services.

To accelerate the launching of the country’s first rail passenger operation, in June 2022 the company signed a contract with CAF for the supply of push-pull trains capable of running at 200 km/h. Each train will be designed to provide 400 seats and it is expected that by 2030, 36.5 million passengers will use the services annually. When passenger transport system will be integrated, the journey time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi will be 50 minutes, from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi, the trains will travel one hour and 40 minutes and between Dubai and Fujairah, 50 minutes.

The third pillar of the UAE Railway Programme is focused on an integrated transport system ensured by an innovation centre which will manage and integrate smart mobility technologies. In addition, a light rail system would be constructed to provide connections to heavy rail passenger transport, creating an entire, interconnected, and smart transport system based on rail services in and out of the cities. “We want to boost public transport across the United Arab Emirates and to shape the way people are thinking when choosing to travel,” the CEO of Etihad Rail said.

UAE’s 2050 mission is to become zero emission and the measures are taken across all sectors especially the largest emitters. Road transport is responsible for 78% of emissions, followed by the industry sector with 17% and oil and gas sector with a share of 2%. Under two national strategies (for 2050 and for 2071), the transport sector must transform itself to become low-carbon – an objective which will be achievable through modal shift towards railways, the development of urban rail systems and expansion of public transport and introducing electric vehicles.


Share on: