Dubai Metro comes to life with glittering launch

Dubai has welcomed its Metro rail system amid a blaze of fireworks and in the presence of VIPs and Gold Pass passengers. The Red Line was declared open by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at 9.09pm.

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Dubai // With a swipe of his own personal metro card handed to him on a silver platter, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai took a trip that will be mirrored by regular commuters. The historic opening of the 52km Dubai Metro Red Line, which was broadcast live on television, began with a reception attended by hundreds at the Mall of the Emirates Galleria. Sheikh Mohammed said the new system, the first in the country, would help the UAE stand on par with other countries. He also used it as an example of the financial resiliance of the emirate, in the wake of last year's economic downturn. "We have postponed some of the projects that were still on paper, but we ordered that those in operation be completed, and Dubai Metro is a concrete proof of that," said Sheikh Mohammed.

Full coverage of the historic launch of the Dubai Metro can be found in tomorrow's edition of The National and here online throughout this evening. Join us tomorrow for the first day of the Metro for commuters with stories, photos, video and a live blog, Twitter and Facebook updates.