Construction of UAE rail network set for Q4 start

Work on the first phase to begin between Oct and Dec 2011.


Construction work on the UAE's railway network is now scheduled to start in the final quarter of the year, developer Etihad Rail has said. The company created to oversee the UAE's ambitious rail expansion said in April that work was due to start in the summer.

In a statement issued this week, Etihad said work would now start between October and December on the first phase of the 1,200km UAE railway network - a 266km route in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

The network, due to begin carrying its first shipment of freight in 2013, will play a "major role in sustaining the economic growth of the UAE and will ultimately change the way goods and people move across the Emirates", the company added.

The railway will run through Taweelah, giving the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi added connectivity for its future tenants. The network will also form a vital part of the planned GCC railway - linking to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and to Oman via Al Ain in the east.

Senior executives at Etihad Rail have just returned from a five-day visit to Antwerp, Belgium where they met and shared ideas with key players in the world of transport.

Shadi Malak, Etihad Rail's executive director - Commercial, said: "This visit was significant in many ways, as it enabled us to share insights - on all levels of railway development, operation and cooperation - with our shipping partners. It is with such coordinated efforts that we are set to build a national network that will operate to the highest technical standards."

The rail company hopes to complete its AED40bn ($10.9bn) rail project in the next seven to eight years.

Etihad Rail, capitalised at AED1bn, 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.


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