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Gulf rail projects could exceed $60b

Construction of the long-awaited rail network that will link the six members of the GCC is expected to start in 2010 or 2011.

By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff ReporterPublished: 00:00 October 13, 2009


Dubai Metro seems to be a precursor to GCC-wide railway developments. The long-awaited Gulf network is expected to start in 2010 or 2011. Image Credit: Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries' proactive approach to building railroad networks, whose estimated cost is more than $60 billion (Dh220 billion), will help boost cross-border trade, cut freight costs and result in faster movement of cargo and passengers, experts have said.

"Rail is safer, faster, cleaner and [a] more economical mode of transportation. Strong logistics networks encourage trade and provide industry with a competitive advantage," Hussain Al Nowais, chairman of the UAE's newly created Union Railway Company, told delegates at a rail conference organised by Meed.

Construction of the long-awaited rail network that will link the six members of the GCC is expected to start in 2010 or 2011. The cost will be shared among the six Gulf states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In the UAE, the Union Railway Company has estimated it will cost up to Dh30 billion to build a countrywide network of railways by 2016, with a track length of almost 1,400km.

In Dubai, the cost of building the Metro stood at Dh28 billion for the two lines.
If everything proceeds smoothly, the GCC railway network, stretching 2,000km from the Kuwait-Iraq border to Oman, will come online in 2017.

Strategic location

Union Railway leverages the strategic location of the UAE. It aims to connect the UAE to Oman and Saudi Arabia — connecting to Sohar in Oman through Al Ain, and connecting to Fujairah in the Eastern region.

It will offer two routes that provide alternative access to the Indian Ocean. The railway will also connect to Saudi Arabia through the Guweifat border and greater GCC and Mena regions.

Union Railway expects to transport 30 million tonnes of bulk and break bulk by 2015. At present, rail transport in Saudi Arabia is managed by the Saudi Railway Organisation, which provides freight services on three main lines totalling 1,018km. There are plans to extend the network to the Red Sea port of Jeddah and eventually, to the borders of Jordan, Yemen, and perhaps all the way to Egypt.

http://gulfnews.com/business/gulf-rail-projects-could-exceed-60b-1.513890
 

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UAE national railway contracts to be awarded from 2010

The UAE plans to get its first operating railway track in 2013-14 with trains expected to transport granulated sulphur from the Shah and Habshan fields

By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter Published: 00:00 October 13, 2009


Abu Dhabi: The UAE plans to get its first operating railway track in 2013-14 with trains expected to transport granulated sulphur from the Shah and Habshan fields of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) to Ruwais, Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of the Union Railway, said in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

"The line will be used to transport freight, but may also be used to transport passengers," Al Nowais told delegates at a Meed (Middle East Economic Digest) conference.

"The project implementation schedule is 5-7 years. We will begin awarding the contracts starting 2010," he added.

Al Nowais had previously indicated that the proposed countrywide rail network is estimated to cost between Dh25 billion and Dh30 billion.


Strategic initiative

The Union Railway is in advanced stages of discussion and coordination with Adnoc to explore transporting more than 7 million tonnes a year of granulated sulphur from the Shah and Habshan oil and gas fields into Ruwais, Al Nowais said at the conference.

The strategic initiative will support Adnoc's ongoing investment programme in the Shah and Habshan oil and gas fields and contribute to the development of the oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries in the country, he said.

Additionally, it will help to accelerate the development of the Western Region, in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, he said.

"This section of the railway will be fast-tracked to meet Adnoc's schedule and requirements," Al Nowais added.

Al Nowais said connecting the Shah and Habshan fields with Ruwais will add nearly 300 kilometres to the originally planned 1,100 kilometre countrywide railway network.

He said the freight transporation target for Union Railway in the first phase of operations is 30 million metric tonnes.


Passenger traffic target

The passenger traffic target will be set in the next few weeks when a traffic study is concluded, Al Nowais added.

He said the UAE railway network will be built to international standards.

The trains will run at speeds between 80 and 120 kilometres per hour for freight transport and between 160 and 200 kilometres per hour for passenger transport.

Union Railway was established in 2009 under Federal Law No. 2 with a mandate to manage the development, construction and operation of the UAE's national railway.

The railway will be built to link the principal centres of population and industry of the UAE, and will be part of the planned GCC railway network at a later stage. There will be a railway line connecting Al Ghweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah and another from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain all the way to the UAE's border with Oman.

http://gulfnews.com/business/general/uae-national-railway-contracts-to-be-awarded-from-2010-1.513897
 

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Funding 'fully available' for Union Railway

By

Abdel Hai Mohamad on Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The UAE government is fully able to find the financial credit for its vast railway project, due to start next year, said the Chairman of the Union Railway Company.

The railway project, scheduled for completion by late 2014, will be constructed in phases, the first in the capital, with stations at Shah, Habshan and Al Rowais.

"We do not have any financial problem, and the federal government will finance the project, which is strategic and sovereign," said Hussain Jassem Al Nowais, speaking to Emirates Business on the sidelines of the Middle East Rail Projects 2009, organised by Middle East Economic Digest (Meed) in Abu Dhabi.

"The fallout of the global financial crisis will not affect the implementation according to schedule. I expect it will take between five and seven years," he said.

Al Nowais said the Union Railway Company, set up with a capital of Dh1 billion, will place the first tender early next year for the project, which is planned to be completed in several phases.

He expected the tenders to see strong competition among international companies, adding that the Union Railway will be one of the most strategic and vital projects built by the UAE within its endeavour to achieve comprehensive development.

When asked about drawing up the track of the railway in Dubai and the northern emirates, Al Nowais said: "Currently we are consulting with the bodies concerned in Dubai and the northern emirates to set the track, and so far, no agreement has been reached. I expect we will finish this in the coming period."

Al Nowais said according to preliminary studies the length of the railway will reach 1,100km and will link Ghuwaifat centre on the border with Saudi Arabia in the west with the border point with Oman in the east. Any increase in the length will depend on the need to link more economic and development areas of the UAE, especially Zayed City and Liwa in Abu Dhabi, with the rest of the areas covered by the train.

He said the completion date of 2017 will be good but it might be brought forward given the big importance of the project.

The study revealed the train will carry some 30 million tonnes of freight a year. The number of passengers will be calculated in several weeks time.

Total cost at the moment will be no less than Dh30 billion, said Al Nowais.

Asked whether the railway will be part of the Gulf train, Al Nowais said, "Undoubtedly it will be part of the Gulf train, which is an important project of the Gulf Co-operation Council. There is efficient co-ordination between the UAE and other GCC member-states in this respect."

The cost of the Gulf train linking the six member-states is between $20bn (Dh73.4bn) and $25 billion.

He said the Union Railway Company conducted studies over two years, which confirmed the economic feasibility of the UAE train project.

Al Nowais said the train project links remotes areas of the nation with urban areas through a safe and fast network contributing to the development of all areas and emirates.


Adnoc to reap benefits

The Union Railway Company is currently involved in discussions with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), which could largely benefit in transportation of Sulphur from the proposed railway project.

Hussain Jassem Al Nowais, Chairman of the Union Railway Company, said the talks cover the movement of some seven million tonnes of sulphur a year from Shah and Habshan fields to Rowais.

"Negotiations have reached an advanced stage and currently they are of technical and technological nature." He expected the final co-operation plan before the end of the year.

An agreement with Adnoc will extend the railway line for 240km, said Al Nowais.

He praised the constructive co-operation on the part of Adnoc management as well as the active response to boost understanding between the two companies' activities. Al Nowais said the harmony flows into the interest of the sustainable development process witnessed by Abu Dhabi and the UAE in general.

The Chairman described the partnership with Adnoc as strategic and said the project should boost the investment plans by Adnoc in Shah and Habshan.


Alstom in Dubai tram talks

French engineering company Alstom said it is in talks for a five-year contract to maintain a €550 million (Dh2.9bn) tram system in Dubai, and is close to signing high-speed rail project deal in Morocco.

Marc Chagnas, Vice-President of business development for transport in south Europe, said yesterday Alstom was also focusing on winning a tender for a multi-billion dollar high speed rail linking Jeddah with Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

The group is looking to boost its business in the world's largest oil exporting region, where governments are pouring billions of dollars into developing infrastructure as they diversify their economies.

"We see in the Middle East real projects with advanced financing schemes, engineering and that is not forgetting urban transport projects," Chagnas said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi.

A consortium including Alstom won the contract to build the first phase of Dubai's tram system in June 2008, for which its share was about €300m.

The tram, which is scheduled to be completed by 2012, will link to Dubai Metro, which opened in September. (Reuters)
 

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Jebel Ali airport to be linked to Union Railway

Emirates airline to move hub to new facility by 2020

By Saifur Rahman, Business EditorPublished: 13:19 November 17, 2009

Dubai: The Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International (DWC-AMI) is expected to be connected to the Dubai Metro and later to the Union Railway which will help it to serve a wider catchment of passengers beyond Dubai, when fully developed by 2020, a top official said.

"I know that the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Union Railway company is talking to integrate the DWC-AMI in to their network which will help passengers as we look to serve 160 million when the airport is fully developed," Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive of Dubai Airports, a Dubai Government-owned company that will operate both airports, told Gulf News at the Air Show.
(...)

http://gulfnews.com/business/aviation/jebel-ali-airport-to-be-linked-to-union-railway-1.528685
 

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http://gulfnews.com/business/features/riding-the-desert-rails-1.567566


The multi-billion dollar project is reported to have received the endorsement and blessings of the heads of GCC states in their latest summit in Kuwait last December, paving the way for the implementation of a vital project in the desert sands.

By Jumana Al Tamimi, Associate Editor Published: 00:00 January 14, 2010
2,200km is the expected length of the railway which will start in Kuwait and pass through Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman. Image Credit: SuppliedImage 1 of 212 A railway network linking the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council is likely to be launched by 2017.

It's a move that is expected to start a rail "revolution" in the desert sands, allowing easier movement among the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), boosting inter-trade and further cementing their 29-year-old alliance.

The multi-billion dollar project has already received the endorsement and blessings of the heads of GCC states in their latest summit in Kuwait last December, paving the way to implementing what is seen as a vital project in the region. The GCC states are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

"They (GCC leaders) are very enthusiastic about it," said Ebrahim Al Sabti in an interview with Gulf News. Al Sabti is head of the transportation division at the GCC secretariat in Riyadh.
 

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When are they going to begin construction on the Railway in UAE?
 

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GCC train could hit 350kph


Passengers using a pan-GCC railway due for completion in 2017 could be whisked along at 350kph under a proposal for a super-high-speed network stretching from Kuwait through the UAE and on to Oman. A speed of 350kph is nearly 40 per cent of the cruising speed of an Airbus A380 jetliner.

Rail authorities from member states of the GCC are to decide this year whether to build tracks for the fast passenger trains, said Ramiz al Assar, a senior transport specialist with the World Bank Group, which is the adviser to the project.

The speed jump from the planned 200kph to a potential 350kph would come at a steep price: the project cost would rise from US$15 billion (Dh55bn) to an estimated $25bn, Mr al Assar said.

A detailed engineering design, expected to be completed in March, will look at the requirement for faster trains and will be presented to GCC member states the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Should the decision be taken to run the high-speed trains along the 2,200km line, it would open up the possibility of travelling from Kuwait to Oman in a little more than six hours in one of the fastest trains in the world.

However, Mr al Assar, speaking on the sidelines of the Rail Infrastructure Middle East 2010 conference in Dubai, said the super-fast trains could not become a reality until “traffic studies indicate there is a viability of moving to that speed”.

A decision has already been taken to operate both freight and passenger services using 200kph diesel trains, he said, adding that the decision to go to 200kph “is an educated decision based on a thorough feasibility study”.

“The 350kph is only to do with the passenger traffic and can only be implemented when the heads of the member states see there is some potential or benefits.”

He said the planned railway would be built to handle greater speeds, making it possible to upgrade to a 350kph train.

The member states endorsed the construction of the railway at the annual GCC summit last month.

Under a tentative schedule, consortiums bidding to design the rail network will be screened in May and contracts awarded by early next year, Mr al Assar said.

Because of the high initial cost of the rail, governments will be required to finance a portion of the construction and look for private sector investment.

While such a big transport project would surely be a money-loser for the governments, Ebrahim al Sabti, the GCC secretary general, said it is “economically feasible”.

“It is going to reduce pollution, it is going to reduce road accidents, it is going to reduce road maintenance,” he said.

Feasibility studies are also looking at the possibility of a spur line from Muscat to Yemen.

Meanwhile, Yemen is set to launch in July a 2,000km rail project worth $3.5bn as part of plans to upgrade its infrastructure, Reuters reported yesterday.

Last month, the world’s fastest long-range train was launched in China, linking the southern China city of Guangzhou to the central city of Wuhan in a three-hour trip. The train had a top speed of 390kph during testing, with an average speed of 350kh.
 

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Contracts for GCC rail project likely in December


Feasibility study for railway authority completed. Decision on speed upgrade to 350km at year end. System expected to be fully operational in 2016. (AP)





By

Karen Remo-Listana on Monday, January 18, 2010

Contracts for the GCC rail project are expected to be awarded in December this year while the $15.5 billion (Dh56.93bn) project is set to be fully operational by as early as 2016, a senior official said.

The regional railway, according to Dr Ramiz Al Assar, Senior Chief Representative, GCC Secretariat General, and senior transport specialist at the World Bank, was declared commercially and financially feasible by all the member states last month.

The project is now in the implementation phase. The GCC Secretary General office is now long listing consulting firms for the detailed engineering design and is expected to finalise the request for proposal and terms of reference next month.

Thereafter the secretariat would short-list consulting firms in November and award the contracts in December.

"We plan to award the contracts at the end of this year or very early next year," Al Assar told Emirates Business on the sidelines of the Rail Infrastructure Middle East 2010. "We will go through the international competitive bidding process, long list consulting firms, then do some prequalification and short listing. The dates are tentative but we hope to award in the shortest period."


http://www.business24-7.ae/Articles...1182010_8abfd3a7bdd6457f8b9d03deff0a6c87.aspx
 

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^^

Thank you. Glad to see some good news!
 

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^^ A tad optimistic time frame isn't it? Dubai Metro took almost 5 years to complete (Red Line) so i doubt that the GCC-wide railway network will be done in 7 years.
It is optimistic, but then again this region has the money and the will to do it. We have to wait and see when the contract is done and the initial speed of construction to determine whether it is possible.
 

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^^ Also remember the Dubai Metro is elevated above ground and has underground section. That is why it took so long to build. The railway is on the ground and construction should be much faster!
 

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^^
Docc,

The red line is not complete. Mostly empty trains running making less than half the required stops!
Are you for real? The metro is actually doing quite well and i can guarantee that you're not gonna get a seat during rush hour. I'm speaking from personal experience so don't ask me for more proof than that!

And don't forget that the Jafza, JLT and DM stations aren't even open yet. I can only imagine the pandemonium that will ensue once they do open.
 

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UAE Rail Proj To Cost Up To AED40B

The United Arab Emirates' 1500 kilometer planned rail network linking the country's seven sheikhdoms will cost up to 40 billion U.A.E dirhams ($10.89 billion) with the contract for the first phase of the project likely to be awarded by the end of the year, the chief executive of government-owned Union Railway said Monday.

"We estimate that the entire project will cost between AED30-40 billion," Richard Bowker told reporters on the sidelines of a logistics forum in Abu Dhabi.

The first phase of the project will be a 270 kilometers freight rail line from Abu Dhabi's Shah sour gas field to Ruwais on the Persian Gulf coast and is likely to be completed by the end of 2013. Union Railway, set up last July with a AED1 billion capital, will hold an outreach session for companies interested in bidding for the contract at the end of March with tenders "in the latter part of year", said Bowker, the former head of U.K.-base rail and bus operator National Express Group plc. "We aim to award the first contract by the end of 2010," he said. The entire project is expected to take 7 years to complete.

Bowker said the company is looking at all financing options for the project and that a decision "will be made in due course."

Union Railway is also looking into the feasibility of building a high-speed passenger rail between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Bowker said, but plans are in the very early stages.

Bowker said he expects a lot of interest from international firms for the contracts.

"This project is considered to be of major international interest," he said. "We expect a high level of interest from everywhere."

Earlier this year in neighboring Dubai the Roads and Transport Authority was forced to issue a statement after a mainly Japanese consortium of companies said they would suspend construction on the $8 billion metro due to a delay in payment from the Dubai government.

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZ...ilway CEO: UAE Rail Proj To Cost Up To AED40B
 

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UAE's federal railway on a fast track

http://www.meed.com/sectors/transport/rail/uaes-federal-railway-on-a-fast-track/3005350.article

31 March, 2010 12:17 pm | By Suzanne Fenton

With plans to have the first section of the $11bn federal rail network completed by 2013, Abu Dhabi’s Union Railway is fast-tracking procurement on the Gulf’s most significant transport project

To passing guests, the guards on the stairs leading down to the main ballroom of the Emirates Palace Hotel were a clear sign that something important was taking place in Abu Dhabi’s premier conference venue.

Only those with invitations were being granted access to the room, and the expectant buzz from the 300 business people inside confirmed that this event was significant.

In Numbers: UAE Railway

* $11bn: Estimated cost of the Union Railway
* 264 km: Length of first phase
* 2011: Start of construction of first phase
* 2013: Completion of first phase
* 5,100: The number of diesel locomotives and freight wagons wanted for the UAE rail fleet

Source: MEED, Union Railway

It was. On 24 March, representatives from hundreds of the region’s leading project companies travelled to the Emirates Palace Hotel
to hear Abu Dhabi rail developer Union Railway present publicly for the first time its plans to spend $11bn on the development of a federal rail network linking the seven emirates of the UAE.

The project is not only significant for Abu Dhabi and the UAE, but also for the entire Gulf region, as it marks the first step towards turning into reality plans for a GCC-wide rail network linking Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman. And possibly even Yemen, under a project being considered by the World Bank.

Procurement strategy
The federal railway also provides hope to contractors, consultants and suppliers in the region at a time when the project market has slowed to a crawl.

At the event, Union Railway provided details of the proposed route of the new UAE railway, and of its projected procurement strategy, as well as the main technical challenges it anticipates having to overcome.

The railway will link all seven of the UAE’s emirates with rail lines running from Abu Dhabi’s western region through Dubai to Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. A high-speed section is planned linking Abu Dhabi city to Dubai.

The project will take several years to complete and has been split initially into two major construction phases. Phase one connects the Empty Quarter in the south of Abu Dhabi emirate to the port of Ruwais on Abu Dhabi’s Gulf coast. The second phase linking the northern emirates to Abu Dhabi is likely to include a high-speed line between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, although plans for this are still at a very early stage.

The first phase aims to aid the transportation of granulated sulphur between the Shah and Habshan gas fields in the south of Abu Dhabi to Ruwais. It involves the construction of a 264-kilometre line that will connect the Shah gas field to Ruwais’s oil and gas processing and distribution facilities.

It will be successful only if they make sure the border facilities are accommodated so it is seamless and efficient

Glenn Thorn, head of transportation, Halcrow

Ultimately, the line will carry 7 million tonnes a year of granulated sulphur, making it the world’s largest sulphur transport scheme. The line supports state energy firm Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (Adnoc) ongoing production programmes at the Shah and Habshan fields. Later phases will contribute significantly to the development of the oil, natural gas and petrochemicals industries in the UAE.

Phase one is split into two sections: The first running from the Shah field with gas processing and distribution facilities to Habshan; The the second linking Habshan to Ruwais port. The line will also run through Mezaira’a, Madinat Zayed, Tarif and Al-Mirfa.

Union Railway will invite companies to submit expressions of interest for work on the first phase of the project in by the end of June. Companies will then be prequalified to bid on the deals by September. Construction contracts will be divided into two or three civil infrastructure packages, one or two track packages and one control systems package.

Union Railway has set itself an ambitious time line, with the first phase expected to be completed by 2013 and testing to begin in 2014. The tender process will also be tight, with civil engineering work on the Ruwais-Habshan section of the line set to begin by the end of 2010 and scheduled to finish for mid-2012. Civil engineering works on the Habshan-Shah section of the line are expected to begin in the first half of 2011 and are due to be completed by the second half of 2013.

Construction of the track running from Ruwais to Habshan is scheduled to start in the early part of 2011 and should be completed by the first quarter of 2013. Construction on the track between Habshan and Shah will start in the second half of 2011 and is scheduled for completion in mid-2014. Control systems will be integrated into the line over a three-year period between mid-2011 and mid-2014.

US-based engineering firm Bechtel is the favourite to win the project management and consultancy (PMC) contract, according to sources close to the project. The firm is also bidding on two PMC deals to oversee the construction of gas and sulphur production, processing and distribution facilities across the emirate as part of $10bn joint venture Shah gas project being developed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the US’ ConocoPhillips.

Procurement of the rolling stock will start in early 2011 with testing and trial runs to begin the latter part of 2014.

Though the plans may be in place there is still the issue of demand, especially with the passenger aspect of the railway.

Border controls
Those involved in early feasibility studies have considered the idea of operating double-decker trains that will allow passengers to drive their car on board the train in, say, Abu Dhabi, travel through the GCC, and drive off in Kuwait. This would also enable people to avoid the time-consuming process of baggage and passport control and having to arrive at an airport two hours in advance, fundamental when travelling by air.

“[Competition with airlines] will be very difficult, so it needs added-value, which is to have your car on board,” says Glen Thorn, head of transportation at UK consultant Halcrow.

To have actual border restraints operating on the network would be too cumbersome and defeat the object of having an efficient, seamless transportation network through the GCC that will bypass the need for time-consuming passport and baggage checks. One possible solution would be to have on board immigration officials. This system act as the passport control method on the widely used European rail network InterRail.

Other potential hurdles that need to be overcome include effective coordination between the GCC’s six member states.

With a GCC-wide network in place, trade becomes an increasingly important issue. In the UAE, if the railway line stretches down to Salalah in Oman, then Salalah would flourish and become the biggest port in the Middle East region. This would also mean that any security threat in the Straits of Hormuz would no longer pose a threat to operations in the UAE.

Kuwait is pushing for the railway line to run to its Bubiyan port and then extended into Iraq. If this happens, then Bubiyan port will also become a strategic port as it will be the main hub serving Kuwait, Iran and Iraq. Naturally, each states hopes that its section of the regional railway ends up being the most strategic.

A technical decision has to be made on the gauge to be adopted on the network to ensure consistency. Saudi Arabia is driving for all
the GCC states to use the same gauge it currently uses.

Mohammed bin Obeid al-Mazroui, GCC assistant secretary-general for economic affairs, says the secretariat is discussing whether to form one authority to regulate the entire railway or to form committees in each member state to manage each section of the network. The aim is to ensure common standards across the network.

Officials also need to consider the issue of providing security on the line, especially one that involves the transportation of highly corrosive granulated sulphur. Abu Dhabi had been considering whether to transport the sulphur by rail or by an underground pipeline. But with the first phase of the UAE’s rail network involving a freight line between Shah and Ruwais, plans for the pipeline appear to have been scrapped.

When the entire UAE rail network is complete, Union Railway expects a fleet of more than 100 locomotives and 5,000 freight wagons – a significant boost to the country’s industrialisation plans.

“It’s very important,” says Thorn. “It’s about the GCC. They have been talking about it for a long time, but there has been nothing substantial, nothing tangible, nothing physical. This is something that will link them together. But it will be successful only if they make sure the border facilities are accommodated so it is seamless and efficient, [for example] nåo need to stop and change drivers as you enter a different country,” he adds.

High benchmark
While the emphasis of the first phase is firmly on freight, passenger services will follow at a later stage. While freight transportation shows higher returns, about 13 per cent, the idea of a high-speed passenger line that stops at Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman is highly attractive.

The ambition and scale of the project is impressive. However, in giving itself only three years to finish phase one, Abu Dhabi must fast-track its procurement process if it is to arrive at its destination on time.

If it does deliver phase one on time, it will have set the benchmark not just for the rest of the UAE railway, but for the planners of the regional networks in the other five GCC states.

R
 

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^^

Good news, but...

It's very said to see they want "diesel locomotives" for this railway, and not electric ones... :(

Okey, it's still better than trucks, but for a completely new project the environmental aspect would be important, they should plan the trains with electric power, and i hope they will do it instead of the diesel stuff...
 
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