Drone footage tracks Etihad Rail train hurtling across Abu Dhabi desert

Dunes and an endless sea of sand form the backdrop to the route, which is lined with shrubbery in some areas

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Striking drone footage has tracked an Etihad Rail train rushing across the Abu Dhabi desert.

Dunes and a seemingly endless sea of sand form the backdrop to the route, which is lined with shrubbery in some areas.

The aerial footage captures the train powering down the tracks, honking its horn and ringing a bell as it makes its way from Al Mirfa near the capital.

The vast network, which is being developed by Etihad Rail, is taking shape, with the Abu Dhabi to Dubai stretch completed last month.

The segment, which stretches 256 kilometres, forms a vital part of the network that will carry passengers and freight between the emirates and, eventually, across them.

Etihad Rail network — in pictures

The 1,200-kilometre line will slash the journey time from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah to about an hour and 40 minutes, extending all the way from the UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia in the west to Oman.

Around 70 per cent of the network, which also runs through mountains and over rivers, has now been built.

Stage one — a freight service linking the gasfields at Shah and Habshan to Ruwais — opened in 2016, while stage two joins Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the east coast in a line running for about 1,200km.

The passenger and freight service will run on the stage two line. It is expected to carry more than 36 million passengers a year by 2030. Additions to the route are expected.

The passenger trains will travel at up to 200 kph, each carrying about 400 people.

Customers can expect a travel time of 50 minutes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

A launch date for the passenger service has not been announced yet, but the line will first connect 11 cities and locations across the UAE.

Updated: April 18, 2022, 11:47 AM