The Etihad Rail project was launched in June 2009. The Etihad Rail project is currently around 70% complete. The Etihad Rail System is set to link the principal centres of population and industry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Etihad Rail’s 1,200 kilometre network will extend across the UAE, from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman.
Stage one of the Etihad Rail Project
Stage one of the Etihad Rail Project is completed and fully operational. The route covers 264km and is used for transporting granulated sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais. Trains that are part of the Etihad Rail System can transport 22,000 tons of granulated sulphur in 110 wagons in a single trip. This means that a single train journey takes over 300 trucks off the road. This significantly reduces travel time and carbon dioxide emissions.
Stage two of the Etihad Rail Project
Stage two of the Etihad Rail Project will extend across the UAE from the border with Saudi Arabia at Ghuweifat, connecting the Emirates via Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), Khalifa Port, Jebel Ali Port, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah and then to Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network will be critical for logistics and travel in the region. The passenger service will run on the line being developed in stage two of the project and is expected to carry more than 36 million passengers annually by 2030.
The passenger carriages will travel at speeds up to 200kph and can carry about 400 people, linking 11 cities and areas across the UAE. A launch date for passenger services has not been revealed yet. When it has been launched, passengers can expect to commute between Abu Dhabi to Dubai in as little as 50 minutes. Passengers are also expected to enjoy a much shorter journey between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. This route will be covered within just 100 minutes. Furthermore, journeys between Dubai and Fujairah will take only 50 minutes, and between Abu Dhabi and Al Ruwais just 70 minutes.
Why is the Etihad Rail Project important?
Once the Etihad Rail Project is fully operational, the railway network is expected to remove over 5,500 trucks off the roads. This means the road networks will have less traffic and travel time across the emirates will be reduced.
The project also has positive environmental outcomes. It is estimated that the Etihad Rail Project will help to reduce carbon dioxide pollution by as much as 80% over the next 50 years.
Furthermore, the Etihad Rail Project is expected to provide more than 9,000 jobs in the railway sector and supporting sectors by 2030.
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