Etihad Rail orders passenger fleet as construction continues north of Dubai

ETIHAD Rail has awarded CAF, Spain a MAD 1.2 billion ($326.7 million) contract for the design, manufacture, supply and maintenance of push-pull diesel passenger trains for the Etihad project Rail. Neither CAF nor Etihad Rail have disclosed the number of trains included in the contract.

The trains will meet European standards with a maximum speed of 200 km/h, with a capacity of more than 400 passengers. CAF say the basic deal is worth more than €250m.

The agreement was signed on June 23 by Mr. Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Mr. Josu Imaz, CEO of rolling stock at CAF, in the Sakamkam region, where the first station will be built in the heart of the Fujairah city. The signing took place in the presence of the Chairman of Etihad Rail, Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Mr. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Mr. Antonio Álvarez Barthe, Ambassador from Spain to the United Arab Emirates, and officials from both sides. .

The development of passenger services is one of the three strategic projects of the National Railways Program in the United Arab Emirates. Passenger trains will connect 11 cities and regions in the UAE from Al Sila to Fujairah, including Al Ruwais, Al Mirfa, Dubai, Sharjah, Al Dhaid and Abu Dhabi.

Rail is expected to reduce journey times by up to 40% compared to road. This includes a 50 minute travel time from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and Dubai to Fujairah, and a 1 hour 10 minute travel time from Abu Dhabi to Al Ruwais. The journey from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah will take 1h 40min.

The trains will be equipped to deal with the harsh climate of the United Arab Emirates and will offer amenities such as infotainment systems, charging stations and catering. There will be ample legroom and an advanced climate control system, with seating divided into first class, business class and economy.

In February, Etihad Rail signed an agreement with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) to finance passenger services, worth a total of 1.99 billion dirhams. First Abu Dhabi Bank will be the certified lead arranger for the loan.

Construction progress

Ahead of the signing, Nahyan visited the final batch of Stage 2 of the UAE National Rail Network, which stretches 145 km from Sharjah to the port of Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, to review the progress of the works. of construction.

During the tour, which started in the Al Suyoh area of ​​Sharjah and ended in Sakamkam, Nahyan inspected the main landmarks on the route, starting with the Al Suyoh Railway Bridge, followed by a stop to visit Al Bithnah Bridge in Fujairah. He then went to visit the track laying works in the tunnels of Al Hajar mountains in Fujairah.

Stage 2 has 54 bridges and 20 wildlife crossing points, as well as nine tunnels totaling 6.9 km. This includes the longest freight tunnel in the Arabian Gulf which stretches for 1.8 km.

In November 2021, Etihad Rail completed excavation of all tunnels in the route, two months ahead of schedule.

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Isabel M. Bourgeois