A video released by Etihad Rail shows a freight train travelling across the UAE through some of the country’s most striking scenery.
The footage underlines the vast scale of the network with the train passing through tunnels and bridges against the backdrop of the country’s mountains, cities and desert.
The freight network links all emirates, connects seven logistics centres and has been operational since February. Freight trains can travel at speeds of up to 120km per hour. Its fleet of 1,082 wagons can carry everything from shipping containers to raw steel.
The video starts in Fujairah and shows the train in the emirate’s port and at Sakamkam, the location of the planned first passenger terminal, with Fujairah’s skyline visible in the background. It also shows the train crossing the 600-metre Al Bithnah rail bridge and passing through the mountains as it travels west across the UAE.
The clip then shows trains travelling through Sharjah and into Dubai, crossing over major bridges such as Al Qudra, close to Expo City Dubai and at Dubai Industrial City, before heading into Abu Dhabi through the Al Maha forest.
Viewers are transported across Al Wathba and into Khalifa Port as the train heads over the landmark marine bridge. The footage concludes with the freight convoy moving south, closer to the capital, through Al Faya Terminal into the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi. The footage concludes with the train stopping at the major Al Mirfa depot in the emirate’s Al Dhafra region.
Gottfried Eymer, chief executive of the Etihad Rail freight network, told The National in May the line would bring big social and environmental benefits as well as economic advantages.
“The benefit for people will be very good and positive,” said Mr Eymer. “Instead of 300 lorries, you have one train driver. Instead of people waiting in traffic jams, we are moving lorries to the railway.
“As we are providing those services on a different network, we are delivering the streets for daily road transport.”
Etihad Rail said it is envisaged the network will carry 20 million tonnes of cargo this year before rising to 60m tonnes by 2030. The operator said it aims to remove 8.2 million tonnes of C02 emissions annually from the road transport sector, which is a reduction of 21 per cent a year by 2050.
The network currently spans about 900 kilometres and is expected to stretch to 1,200km when fully complete.
Etihad Rail was established in 2009. The first freight line opened in Abu Dhabi in 2016, transporting sulphur from gasfields at Shah and Habshan to Ruwais Port.
Etihad Rail is also planning a passenger service but a launch date has not been revealed.