UAE residents and tourists could soon be chugging across the Emirates within minutes in trains.
The UAE Railway Programme announced on Sunday will see passengers zipping from Abu Dhabi to Dubai within 50 minutes; and from the UAE Capital to Fujairah in 100. Top speeds on the trains could hit 200kmph.
The UAE Government announced the scheme at Expo 2020 Dubai in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Sheikh Mohammed said: "The Etihad Rail is the largest project to consolidate the strength of the union for the next 50 years. It will connect 11 key cities and regions across the UAE.
"The UAE's infrastructure is among the best in the world, and the Etihad Rail will further enhance UAE excellence in the logistical field. The project comes in line with the environmental policy of the UAE and it will reduce carbon emissions by 70-80 per cent.”
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said the programme reflects the “true meaning of integration into our national economic system”.
“It comes to support a national vision to connect the country’s key centres of industry and production, open new trade routes and facilitate population movement, creating the most developed work and life environment in the region.”
Passenger, freight trains
The investments in the national railway programme amount to Dh50 billion. It is expected to create more than 9,000 jobs by 2030.
It includes three main projects. Freight includes the Etihad Rail freight services.
Rail Passenger Services aim to connect 11 cities from Al Sila to Fujairah. By 2030, the number of passengers is expected to reach more than 36.5 million annually.
The third project is an Integrated Transportation Service. An innovation centre will be established to ensure the integration of the smart transportation solutions. A network of light rail will be connected to the Rail Passenger System to facilitate transportation inside UAE cities.
Additionally, smart applications and solutions will also be developed to allow planning and booking trips; integrate logistics operations, port and customs services; and provide integrated logistics solutions.
The UAE Railway Programme creates economic opportunities amounting to Dh200 billion. The estimated benefits of reducing carbon emissions amount to Dh21 billion; road maintenance, Dh8 billion; tourism benefits, Dh23 billion; and public benefits on the UAE economy, Dh23 billion.
It launched operations of ‘stage one’ in 2016. About 70 per cent of stage two was completed in under 24 months, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over 180 entities have teamed up for the project. Over 27,000 people are working in more than 3,000 constructions sites across the country, achieving 76 million working hours so far.
Boosting Emirati talent, key milestones
Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, and Chairman of Etihad Rail, said the programme is an opportunity to qualify and train Emirati talents.
Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, said the railway project is operated by Emirati talents.
Kholoud Al Mazrouei, Deputy Project Manager of Etihad Rail, highlighted the key milestones achieved by Etihad Rail.
During Stage One, Etihad Rail helped UAE become the world's leading exporter of Sulphur. Trains transported over 30,000 tonnes of Sulphur, as opposed to 5,000 tonnes via trucks. This helped eliminate 2.5 million truck trips, which in turn, helped increase road safety, reduce maintenance costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
Copyright © 2021 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).