Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and chairman of Etihad Rail, reviewed the progress of the final package of ‘Stage Two’ of the UAE National Rail Network during a recent visit to the site, which extends for 145 kilometres from Sharjah to Fujairah Port and Ras Al Khaimah.
Sheikh Theyab also graced the signing of an agreement on behalf of Etihad Rail with Spanish company, CAF, during his visit. The agreement, valued at Dhs1.2bn, will see CAF design, manufacture supply and provide maintenance for passenger trains as per European standards.
Each train will have a seating capacity of over 400 passengers, and will run up to 200 km/h. The trains, which will offer a variety of seating segments, will serve as a major addition to the country’s public transport system.
The development of the passenger railway services is one of the three strategic projects of the National Railways Programme. The trains will facilitate transport across the cities of the UAE, providing passengers with a quick, efficient, safe, comfortable and cost-friendly travel experience.
The trains will connect 11 cities and regions in the UAE from Al Sila to Fujairah, including Al Ruwais, Al Mirfa, Dubai, Sharjah, Al Dhaid and Abu Dhabi. They will reduce commute time by 30-40 per cent compared to other modes of transport, where travelling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and from Dubai to Fujairah, will take only 50 minutes only; travelling from Abu Dhabi to Al Ruwais will take 70 minutes only; while travelling from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah will take only 100 minutes.
The trains will be equipped with modern amenities, including infotainment systems, charging stations, and more, along with food and beverages and ample legroom, in addition to an advanced air-conditioning system. There will also be different seating segments, including first class, business class and economy.
Additionally, passenger services will allow travellers to plan their journeys between the emirates and cities of the UAE more efficiently, from booking their tickets until they reach their final destination.
Other agreements signed for the project
Etihad Rail also recently signed three MoUs with Spain’s national railway operator Renfe, and the British companies High Speed 1 and GB Railfreight, to enhance cooperation and the exchange of knowledge, expertise and the best practices in in freight and passenger rail services and rail operations. This took place during Middle East Rail 2022, which was hosted by the Etihad Rail in May.
In February, Etihad Rail signed an agreement with First Abu Dhabi Bank for financing the railway passenger transport services, with a total value of Dhs1.99bn as part of the UAE National Railways Programme. The bank will be the certified lead arranger for the loan, as part of the agreement.