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Emirates to spend $272M to launch national railway
8 July 2009

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - United Arab Emirates state media says the oil-rich Gulf nation plans to create a national railway company.

The WAM news agency reported Wednesday that the country's president, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, approved a bill establishing the company with 1 billion dirhams ($272.4 million) in start-up capital.

WAM says the company will be fully owned by the federal government with a mandate to transport goods and passengers to all parts of the country.

Much of the seven-state federation is linked by modern roads and highways, but there is currently little public transportation available. An urban light rail system, the country's first, is due to open in the largest city Dubai this year.
 

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I hope this will prompt a more regional HSR network with neighbouring countries. How is the traffic between UAE and Saudi Arabia? Do people prefer to fly instead or will rail never become feasible since it'll be hard to handle an emergency situation in the middle of the desert?
 

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It would be nice to have Dubai and Doha linked via HSR. From Doha, the line could go to Manama and along the Persian Gulf to Kuwait City!!
 

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Emirates to spend $272M to launch national railway
8 July 2009

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - United Arab Emirates state media says the oil-rich Gulf nation plans to create a national railway company.

The WAM news agency reported Wednesday that the country's president, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, approved a bill establishing the company with 1 billion dirhams ($272.4 million) in start-up capital.

WAM says the company will be fully owned by the federal government with a mandate to transport goods and passengers to all parts of the country.

Much of the seven-state federation is linked by modern roads and highways, but there is currently little public transportation available. An urban light rail system, the country's first, is due to open in the largest city Dubai this year.
hmm huge change over i think
 

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INTERVIEW-UAE's rail network on track, sees strong bidding

DUBAI, April 13 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates' Etihad Rail will award the first contract to build a national rail network in the next three to four months, its CEO said, adding that regional unrest would not delay its plans.

The UAE has so far escaped pro-democracy protests that have toppled Egypt's and Tunisia's leaders and shaken autocratic regimes in nearby Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.

The rail company hopes to complete its 40 billion dirham ($10.9 billion) rail project in the next seven to eight years. The network, which will ultimately span up to 1,200 km (746 miles), would later link to planned regional lines.

Richard Bowker, chief executive of Etihad Rail, told Reuters three contracts for the first phase have been offered.

"There are three contracts which are out in the market for bid. They all relate to stage one of the railway, which is the 264 km line from Shah to Ruwais. The first and largest is for infrastructure, that is for civil works, tracks, communication systems and signals," he said late on Tuesday.

Bowker did not give the names of the bidding companies.

"In terms of identity of the bidders, it's quite a large group, over 20 groups. They are companies with experience in civil works, railways, construction works, both in the UAE and internationally," he said.

Etihad Rail, capitalised at 1 billion dirhams, is 70 percent owned by Abu Dhabi's government and 30 percent by the UAE federal government. It recently changed its name from Union Railway.

"We intend to make a decision and award the contract this summer, so that we can begin the mobilisation exercise and start construction later in the year. We are on a very tight schedule, but so far we have maintained the programme," he said.

The other two contracts were for locomotives and for wagons carrying sulphur, Bowker said.

The rail network will transport some 50 million tonnes of freight and 16 million passengers over the next 20 to 30 years. The first route will transport granulated sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais for export.

Bowker said a final decision on the financing for the projects had not yet been made. "We have done a lot of work, but we are just going through the process of discussing that internally."

The network will connect the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.

Freight trains will run at speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour (kph) and passenger trains at speeds of up to 200 kph.

"We will have the first railway in operation 2013, beginning 2014, and from that point onwards the network will then expand. Anytime thereafter we could start put passenger services on. But priority at the moment is freight," Bowker said.

Extreme heat conditions and sand were the main technical challenges, he said.

The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members plan to spend more than $100 billion on a rail project linking them up by 2017, with long-range plans to extend the high-speed network as far as Yemen in the south of the Arabian Peninsula.

Asked about the impact of the regional unrest on the GCC railway project, he said: "As far as we are concerned at Etihad Rail, we are proceeding at full speed in the UAE, and also looking at the wider, longer-term plans to connect the GCC. We have not changed the approach."

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates headed by ruling families, is seen as less vulnerable than some neighbouring states to political unrest because of generous government spending programmes.

State media said in March the UAE would invest $1.6 billion on infrastructure in its less developed north, where citizens have benefited least from the capital Abu Dhabi's vast oil wealth and Dubai's trade and property fuelled development.

($1=3.672 UAE Dirham)
 

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Etihad Rail on course to open in 2013​

24 March 2011

UAE: The first freight trains on the emirates’ nascent rail network will start running in 2013, according to the Chairman of Etihad Rail Nasser Al Sowaidi.

Speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi on March 23 to mark the rebranding of the company previously known as Union Railway, Al Sowaidi confirmed that the initial line between Ruwais and Habshan would be ready for operation in ‘early 2013’, with the Habshan – Shah section to complete the 264 km Phase I ready ‘by the end of 2014’. Civil works contracts have already been awarded for the first phase, and tendering is now underway for electrical and mechanical systems including track and rolling stock.

Etihad Rail has adopted a new corporate image incorporating the colours of the national flag, ‘to symbolise the national significance of the railway’. Al Sowaidi said the development of a network of up to 1 200 km was ‘one of the most significant national projects in the development of the UAE’, which ‘signifies a new chapter of transport’, forming a key part of the country’s infrastructure and promoting integration between different modes.

Vice-Chairman Matter Al Tayer revealed that design work on the second and third phases would be finalised by the end of this year, allowing construction to get underway during the second half of 2012.

Phase 2 covers the remaining lines in the Abu Dhabi emirate plus a link to Dubai, connecting the region’s two largest cities as well as serving Mussaffah and the Khalifa and Jebel Ali ports. Phase 3 would add further routes in the northern emirates. There will be links to neighbouring countries as part of the emerging Gulf rail network, including Saudi Arabia at Ghweifat and Oman at Al Aïn.

Al Sowaidi said Etihad Rail had made ‘dramatic progress’ since its establishment in 2009, completing technical, commercial and financial studies to confirm the social benefits of the rail network and predict traffic flows for the next 20 to 30 years. The railway is expected to carry around 50 million tonnes of freight and 16 million passengers.

Etihad Rail is working with leading investment banks, and says its financing strategy is 'close to completion', and sophisticated studies have been undertaken to understand and manage rail operations in desert conditions. This had given the project ‘unstoppable momentum’, he believed
http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/news/single-view/view/etihad-rail-on-course-to-open-in-2013.html



http://www.etihadrail.ae/railway-route/
 

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This is fantastic. I'm not familiar with railway construction; will the sandy-ness of the UAE pose a problem?
I was thinking the same thing.

Also with all the spectacular projects going on in the UAE I'm surprised they don't propose maglev high speed lines between cities or at least super high speed rail like China is building.
 

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UAE | Railways

UAE Railways Project
Etihad Rail is developing a 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) railway network across the United Arab Emirates. The first stage would be a 270 kilometres (170 mi) freight line, linking Ruwais to the Shah gas field, in cooperation with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Opening is planned for 2013.

A longer mixed-use railway is also planned, crossing the UAE via Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Ajman. Links to Saudi Arabia and Oman are planned.

In the longer term, a high speed passenger rail link is being considered between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

In September 2010 Union Railway sought bids from rolling stock suppliers. In October 2010 the company sought bids from track suppliers. In November 2010, project managers and engineering consultants were appointed.

On 26 October 2011, Etihad Rail announced the signing of a 3.3 billion dirham contract with Italian companies Saipem and Tecnimont and regional company Dodsal Engineering & Construction for the design and construction of the 266 kilometres (165 mi) first phase of the railway, linking Habshan with Ruwais and Shah by 2014. In January 2012 the consortium awarded the ETCS Level 2 signalling and telecoms contract to Ansaldo STS.

A second phase is planned, which would connect with other planned lines at Ghweifat (in Saudi Arabia) and Al Aïn (on the border with Oman).

The railway will be standard gauge. Various techniques, including pulse-filtration technology, will be used to mitigate the effects of fine sand.
Etihad Rail

 

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#PROJECT: UAE RAILWAY
Etihad Rail Board visits site in Western Region



http://www.ameinfo.com/etihad-rail-board-visits-site-western-332787

Members of the board of Etihad Rail- the developer and operator of the UAE's national railway network - conducted a site visit in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi at the end of last week to observe first-hand the latest progress and developments of the project.
The board members first visited the sleeper factory in Mirfa, where they assessed its various facilities, production lines and depot. The group then moved on to survey the various features of the rolling stock, including the recently-arrived wagons, which will be used when trains run for the very first time in the Western region by year-end. The board members then witnessed the process by which the sleepers and tracks are laid on the ground, before their final stop at the trial sand mitigation site, which enables better understanding of windblown sand behaviour and its effect on the railway.

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