The UAE's Etihad Rail project is moving full steam ahead after key construction work for the second stage of the nationwide scheme was completed two months ahead of schedule.
The train network aims to connect the country's hubs of trade and industry and is intended to greatly improve transport for the public.
When complete, it will stretch about 1,200 kilometres.
During an online meeting of Etihad Rail's board of directors, led by chairman Sheikh Theyab, it was announced that the development was on track.
It was revealed that construction work for package A of stage two, which extends 139 kilometres, and its connection through Al Ghuwaifat on the border of Saudi Arabia with Stage One, which extends 264 kilometres from Habshan to Al Ruwais, was completed.
Officials said the achievement was a significant step towards completing the network on time.
Sheikh Theyab hailed the Etihad Rail team for their achievement, particularly when faced with the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said Etihad Rail had pressed ahead with the project while sticking to safety measures.
What is Etihad rail - and where does it go?
Etihad Rail was established in 2009, and stage one of the project became operational in 2016.
Each day, two trains capable of transporting up to 22,000 tonnes of sulphur, run across the country. Each can haul up to 110 wagons on any one journey.
When complete, the railway network will link the main centres of population and industry in the UAE and will form a vital part of the railway network across the Gulf region, connecting the seven emirates of the UAE to the five neighbouring GCC states.
Since 2016, two tracks – spanning 264 kilometres – have been in operation transporting granulated sulphur from gasfields in Shah and Habshan to an export point in Ruwais.
In stage two of the project, more than 600 kilometres of additional track will be laid down from Ghuweifat, on the border with Saudi Arabia, to Fujairah on the east coast.