Etihad Rail awards contract for employee housing in Mirfa

Etihad Rail has awarded a contract to design and build 170 new homes for employees of the new railway in Mirfa in the Western Region.

Etihad Rail secured a Dh4.7 billion five-year bank loan last year to build the first phase of the $11bn national heavy rail network. Wam
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Etihad Rail has awarded a contract to design and build 170 new homes for employees of the new railway in Mirfa in the Western Region as the company pushes ahead with ambitious plans to connect the UAE with neighbouring GCC countries by train.

National Transport & Contracting Company, the local building company awarded the contract, said that construction of the beachfront residences in the Western Region town would be completed in the second half of next year.

It added that the flats would be equipped with advanced technology and entertainment systems and would accommodate employees of Etihad Rail DB, the operating partner for stage one of the network that has already been working in the Western Region for more than a year.

Etihad Rail secured a Dh4.7 billion five-year bank loan last year to build the first phase of the $11bn national heavy rail network.

That phase, covering about 264 kilometres in the west of the country from Sha and Habshan to Ruwais via Mirfa, is now complete and has begun operating trials, the company said last September.

“Our plan to build a dedicated residential building for our employees is a prime example of our commitment to our employees,” said Shadi Malak, the acting chief executive of Etihad Rail DB. “It will not only mitigate the safety risk of a commute from Abu Dhabi, but by establishing a comfortable, strategically located community for our personnel, we are creating an environment where productivity can be maximised.”

Four months ago, Etihad Rail executives said that the company was ready to secure federal funding and award contracts to build the second phase of the UAE railway project, which at 628km is the longest of the three planned stages.

However, since then no further announcement has been made.

A consortium comprising Italy’s Saipem and Maire Tecnimont and UAE-based Dodsal Engineering and Construction was awarded the main civil and track works contract for the first phase, and last year Etihad Rail created a joint venture with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, Etihad Rail DB, to operate the first stage and act as consultant for the others.

Etihad Rail’s network is intended to span about 1,200km, connecting regions of the UAE to neighbouring GCC countries.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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