Watch: Etihad Rail gives rare glimpse inside construction of region's longest rail tunnel

Crews completed 300,000 working hours with more than a half a million tonnes of stone removed during excavation of the 1.8km tunnel

Etihad Rail completes excavation of the GCC’s longest rail tunnel

Etihad Rail completes huge tunnel
Powered by automated translation

New footage has revealed the epic scale of Etihad Rail's 1.8-kilometre tunnel through the Hajar Mountains.

Not only did crews bore through some of the UAE's most complex mountainous terrain successfully, the tunnel's completion brings the line's main opening another step forward.

Video posted by Etihad Rail shows the epic scale of the task of creating the longest rail tunnel in the Gulf.

Paths for the line are carved through the mountains, while diggers shift rock and concrete mixer trucks line the inside.

Crews completed 300,000 working hours, with more than a half a million tonnes of stone removed during excavation of the tunnel alone.

The video also shows some of the striking bridges that will take trains over rugged terrain elsewhere on the line.

“This tunnel delivers a ground-breaking step forward in the development of the UAE's national transport and logistics sector,” said Khuloud Al Mazrouei, deputy project manager at Etihad Rail.

“It links quarries producing construction material in the Northern Emirates with exporting points and ports in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah.”

The tunnel is part of a 145km segment of the line, running from Dubai and Sharjah through the Hajar Mountains to Fujairah. This segment includes the construction of nine tunnels, 54 bridges and 20 animal crossings.

Stage one of Etihad Rail – a 264km line linking the gasfields at Shah and Habshan to Ruwais – is already in operation.

Now the second stage of the project – stretching about 1,000km from Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast – is advancing rapidly.

Etihad Rail was created in 2009. Freight is the focus but its original mandate included a potential passenger element.

It is also envisaged that the UAE lines could form part of a wider GCC rail network.

Etihad Rail: Meet the UAE's first female train controller – in pictures

Updated: August 01, 2021, 11:22 AM