The railway line between Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been joined up, authorities announced on Tuesday.
This link between the two emirates stretches for 256 kilometres and includes 29 bridges, 60 crossings and 137 drainage channels.
Maps from Etihad Rail show the scope and ambition of the line that will eventually carry passengers, as well as freight, across the country.
A launch date for the passenger line and the exact route for this service has yet to be announced, but it is expected to carry more than 36 million people annually by 2030.
The passenger trains will travel at up to 200kph, linking 11 cities and areas. Each can carry about 400 people.
Customers can expect travel time of 50 minutes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and about 100 minutes from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah cutting commutes significantly.
The railway, as the maps show, will link the principal centres of trade, industry, manufacturing, production, logistics, population and all the major import and export points of the UAE as well as form an integral part of the GCC railway network.
Additions or changes to the route can be expected, but Etihad Rail said 70 per cent of the network has now been built.
Stage one – a freight service linking the gasfields at Shah and Habshan to Ruwais – opened in 2016. Each day, it carries up to 22,000 tonnes of granulated sulphur from Habshan and Shah to Ruwais for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
Stage two joins Ghuwaifat in the west to Fujairah on the east. The maps shows the stages of construction, or packages, as they have been called.
News that the line between Abu Dhabi and Dubai had been linked was announced by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Etihad Rail.
“The completion of the main railway of the UAE National Rail Network project between Dubai and Abu Dhabi represents an important pivotal phase that shows the great benefits of this national project in linking all the emirates of the country and enhancing the transportation process between industrial and economic centres, and facilitating transportation within the UAE,” Sheikh Maktoum said.
Sheikh Theyab said: “The completion of the main railway will enhance the strategic position of the project at the transport and infrastructure levels, and contributes to the promotion of sustainable development in the UAE, and the consolidation of its position to remain in the first ranks at the regional and global levels.”