Etihad Rail signs agreements for operations, maintenance and passenger stations

Etihad Rail has signed four preliminary agreements with international companies for rail operations, maintenance and passenger stations as the national rail project moves forward.

The agreements were signed with SNCF International – France’s state-owned railway company, French rail company Alstom, Progress Rail – which offers rail and transit products and services, and Thales Group – which specializes in advanced technologies, Etihad Rail said on Friday.

“Our partners play a key role in supporting our mission to develop and operate a rail network that incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and offers safe, sustainable and reliable solutions,” said Ahmed Al Musawa, executive director of passenger transport at Etihad Rail.

“By partnering with some of the biggest names in the rail, freight and transport industry, we assure our customers that we are developing the UAE National Rail Network to the highest international standards to meet their needs and help them achieve their business goals support that drives a sustainable, resilient and cost-effective supply chain.”

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Sustainability will be an important part of Etihad Rail’s collaboration with Alstom as they work on the shift to zero-emission solutions, while the collaboration with Thales focuses on the digitization of services.

With Progress Rail, discussions will focus on “potential opportunities for the development and deployment of an autonomous, zero-emission, port-to-port concept that could serve as the foundation for future rail operations globally,” Etihad Rail said.

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The Etihad Rail line will be approximately 1,200 km long. It will connect 11 cities and territories in the United Arab Emirates, from the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah in the north.

Etihad Rail’s new high-tech trains were unveiled last month, featuring diesel and electric locomotives with 4,600hp of braking power.

They are also equipped with the latest filter innovations such as the impulse sand filter system, which ensures that the train operates with high effectiveness and efficiency when traveling through desert regions.

They feature onboard technologies and systems such as the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2, a state-of-the-art signaling system to increase safety, reliability and efficiency.

Work on the project has progressed rapidly this year, with more than 70 pieces of the line built in the last month.

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UAE train map.  Photo: Etihad Rail

No start date for passenger service has been released, but officials said more than 36 million people will use the service annually by 2030.

The first passenger station will be built in Fujairah and the trains will be able to travel at speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour and carry around 400 people.

Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and from Dubai to Fujairah takes 50 minutes, from Abu Dhabi to Al Ruwais 70 minutes and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah 100 minutes.

Updated September 23, 2022 at 4:39 p.m

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