Abu Dhabi, UAE – In a significant leap towards enhancing the country’s transportation infrastructure, the first passenger journey on the Etihad Rail route between Abu Dhabi and Al Dhannah took place on Thursday.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Managing Director and Group Chief Executive of Adnoc, was among the distinguished passengers aboard the inaugural trip.
The eagerly awaited passenger service, which is part of the broader Etihad Rail project, aims to connect key centres of trade, industry, manufacturing, production, logistics, and population across the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The route, spanning 250 kilometres west of the capital, is poised to offer a vital transportation artery for economic growth and infrastructure development.
“The Etihad Rail project is more than just a rail network; it will serve as a vital artery for economic growth and infrastructure development while driving decarbonization for the benefit of the UAE and its people,” highlighted Dr Al Jaber.
The passenger trains, reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, are expected to link 11 cities and areas across the UAE.
With the capability to carry approximately 400 passengers, these trains are equipped with modern amenities, including Wi-Fi, entertainment systems, charging points, and diverse food and drink options.
While the exact start date for the passenger rail service has not been confirmed, it was announced in 2022 that the first passenger station would be Sakamkam in Fujairah.
The overall project, once operational, promises to significantly reduce commute times, with an estimated travel time of 50 minutes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and about 100 minutes from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah.
Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, expressed the profound impact of the rail network on the UAE’s global standing in the logistics, transportation, and infrastructure sectors.
“Etihad Rail is strengthening the position that the UAE enjoys as a leading global hub within the logistics, transportation and infrastructure sectors by providing more effective and reliable transportation solutions in line with the highest international standards and connecting cities and industries with a safe and sustainable rail network,” said Malak.
In addition to the passenger service, Etihad Rail’s vast freight network became fully operational in February of the previous year.
The freight line, inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, encompasses 38 locomotives and over 1,000 wagons.
Plans for a luxury train service were unveiled last year in collaboration with Italian luxury hospitality company Arsenale. The “rail cruise” is expected to traverse the UAE from Fujairah in the east down to the Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi, featuring 15 luxurious carriages.
Post the historic passenger journey, Dr Al Jaber toured Adnoc’s hub in Al Ruwais Industrial City, showcasing the company’s world-class facilities.
“Our facilities and expert workforce play a pivotal role in enhancing our nation’s status as a responsible and reliable global energy leader,” remarked Dr Al Jaber.
As the UAE continues to invest in cutting-edge infrastructure, the Etihad Rail project is set to play a crucial role in fostering economic growth, connectivity, and sustainability in the region, heralding a new era in transportation for both citizens and visitors alike.