In numbers: Etihad Rail's new freight route

The network has a fleet of 38 locomotives and more than 1,000 wagons

Powered by automated translation

The Etihad Rail project has taken a step forward after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the freight part of the 1,200km, UAE-wide network is operational.

Across the network, trains will traverse 593 bridges and nine tunnels that will make up a distance of 6.5km when complete.

While a freight service linking gasfields in Shah and Habshan to Ruwais opened in 2016, the new freight route will connect four major ports and seven logistics centres across the country.

The new freight service will feature 38 locomotives (engines) and more than 1,000 wagons capable of transporting all types of goods from shipping containers to industrial goods, the state news agency Wam reported.

The freight trains will run up to 120kph and each locomotive operates with a power of 4,500 horsepower - equivalent to 3,400 kilowatts - and has been designed to withstand the geographical nature, climatic conditions and high temperatures in the region.

The network will contribute to supporting the UAE economy to a value of Dh200 billion and save Dh8 billion in road maintenance costs. The network’s tourism benefits are estimated at Dh23 billion.

The project also aims to reduce carbon emissions in the road transport sector by 21 per cent by 2050, boosting the country's efforts to become net zero - not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - by that year.

Etihad Rail has also announced a passenger service that will link the country's major urban centres. A date for the launch of this service has not been announced yet.

The passenger trains will travel at speeds of up to 200kph, linking 11 cities and areas. Each train will carry about 400 people.

Carriages will be equipped with amenities such as Wi-Fi, entertainment systems, charging points and food and beverages.

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 303km UAE to Oman passenger and freight route, part of the UAE-Oman railway network, aims to bolster trade and tourism opportunities between the Gulf neighbours and the rest of the region.

The passenger service will reduce journey times between Abu Dhabi and Sohar, to the north of Muscat, to 100 minutes, and trips from Sohar to Al Ain to 47 minutes.

It is not yet clear when the Oman project will be completed.

Etihad Rail previews new passenger rail service – in pictures

Updated: February 24, 2023, 10:46 AM