Etihad Rail map: what does the route look like and where does it go?

The 1,200-kilometre line will run from the UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah, with plans to extend to Oman

Etihad Rail's route as it stands. The packages refer to the stages of the line. Future extensions or amendments can be expected. Photo: Etihad Rail
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The railway line between Abu Dhabi and Dubai was joined up in March and connected to Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah in October.

This link between the two emirates stretches for 256 kilometres and includes 29 bridges, 60 crossings and 137 drainage channels.

The line in Sharjah runs for 45km, while the Ras Al Khaimah line extends over 5.7km and connects the emirate to the project's main line.

The main Etihad Rail network will run for 1,200km across the UAE, from the border of Saudi Arabia to Fujairah.

It has also been announced that the line will be extended into Oman. The agreement to build the Omani portion of rail network was signed on September 29 during the state visit of President Sheikh Mohamed to Oman.

The line will ultimately carry freight and passengers to connect Abu Dhabi with Sohar in the north of Muscat and more details are expected soon.

Meanwhile, a launch date for the UAE passenger line and the exact route for this service have not yet been announced, but plans to build the first passenger station in Fujairah have been unveiled.

How will the passenger service transform UAE public transport?

The passenger trains will travel at up to 200km an hour and will link 11 cities and areas. Each can carry about 400 people.

Carriages will be equipped with vital amenities such as Wi-Fi, entertainment systems, charging points and various food and beverage options.

There will also be different seating areas, including first class, business class and economy.

Customers can expect a travel time of 50 minutes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and about 100 minutes from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah, cutting commutes significantly.

Once operational, the service is expected to carry more than 36 million people annually by 2030.

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 forming 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 had now been built.

Etihad Rail's network map. The grey line is stage one, which is the already operational line from Shah to Ruwais. The other colours - green, red, blue and green - are part of stage two. Stage two is still under construction. Photo: Etihad Rail

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 chairman of Etihad Rail.

Striking image highlights progress

Construction of the Etihad Rail railway in Fujairah. Photo: Etihad Rail

Etihad Rail published an aerial photograph in August to show the progress of the line on the UAE's east coast.

The image, posted to its social media channels, shows the railway cutting through Fujairah's Hajar Mountains and headed for the coast.

“Our National Railway network traverses through the Hajar mountains and extends for 145km, connecting the borders of Sharjah and going through Fujairah all the way to Ras Al Khaimah, providing a safe and efficient means of transportation across the unique topography created by the scenic mountains into the other emirates,” said Etihad Rail in a message accompanying the picture.

Benefits of 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.”

This is a version of an article that was first published in March, 2022.

Etihad Rail’s route from Abu Dhabi to Dubai — in pictures

Updated: October 13, 2022, 8:12 AM