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Etihad Rail

Wednesday 16 January 2019 (UAE)   

Etihad Rail

Etihad Rail (Ittihad Rail) is the new name for the railway network development project in the UAE as of 24 March 2011. Previously called the Union Railway Company. Also called the Trans-Emirates Rail Network or Railway. The Etihad Rail network will join Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and other emirates in the UAE with freight and passenger trains (maybe not for passenger trains - plans suspended according to news report 24 Mar 2011).

Etihad Rail UAE route map (August 2010?)

See Union Railway Company for information prior to March 2011.

  • Etihad Rail capitalization AED 1 billion, ownership split 70% Abu Dhabi Government, and 30% UAE Federal Government.
  • First Etihad Rail route scheduled for completion early 2013, from Habshan to Ruwais in Abu Dhabi. Or maybe a bit earlier - 02 May 2012 WAM report said "Delivery of the locomotives is scheduled for the end of 2012, and will support the inaugural service of transporting granulated sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais. Three locomotives will haul trains of up to 110 wagons, with each train carrying up to 11,000 tonnes of sulphur."
  • Total development cost AED 40 billion (US$11 billion) (March 2011 figures).
  • UAE rail network length eventually 1200 km, with links to Saudi Arabia (via Ghweifat) and Oman (via Al Ain and Buraimi).
  • Model developed which forecasts for 20-30 years (from 2011 or 2013?) 50 million tonnes of freight and 16 million passengers.
  • Shah-Habsan-Ruwais route length 264 km. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Ghweifat route length 628 km. Other cities to be connected eventually include Jebel Ali, Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone in Taweelah, and Fujairah port outside the Strait of Hormuz (WAM 17 Jun 2013).
  • UAE rail network will eventually connect to the Saudi Arabia rail network. There is also a planned GCC rail network linking Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and also a connection to the Red Sea.
Etihad Rail project phases (24 March 2011 press release)
  • Phase I is the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais rail line for transport of ganulated sulphur for export, in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Construction start date scheduled for H2 2011 with the Habshan-Ruwais link scheduled for completion in early 2013, and the Shah-Habshan link finished by end 2014.
  • Phase II is the rest of the Abu Dhabi emirate railway network, and a rail connection between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with links to or through Mussaffah, Khalifa port, Jebel Ali port, and to the border with Saudi Arabia.
  • Phase III is the extension of the rail network to the northern emirates, Fujeirah, and Oman.
Etihad Rail personnel
  • Chairman of Etihad Rail is Nasser Al Suweidi (Sowaidi).
  • CEO of Etihad Rail is Dr Nasser Al Mansoori (as of 19 Sep 2012). Previously was Hazem Mobarak (as Acting CEO from Mar 2012), and before that was Richard Bowker.
Etihad Rail timeline and history
  • 2018 - possible start date for passenger train service between Abu Dhabi and Dubai (WAM 03 Jul 2013).
  • 2018 - forecast completion date for all three phases the rail network (WAM 17 Jun 2013).
  • 2017 - forecast completion date for rail link between Abu Dhabi and Dubai (WAM 03 Jul 2013).
  • 2014 Q4 - forecast completion date for Shah-Habsan route (24 Mar 2011 press release).
  • 2013 Q4 - forecast completion date for Shah-Habsan-Ruwais route (WAM 17 Jun 2013).
  • 2013 Q1-Q2 - forecast completion date Habshan-Ruwais route (24 Mar 2011 press release).
  • 20 Oct 2013 (WAM) - MoU signed between Etihad Rail and JBC Express Freight LLC, a freight-forwarding, warehousing and logistics services company, for delivery of containers and other cargo in the UAE and other GCC countries. Contract value not provided.
  • 29 Sep 2013 (WAM) - MoU signed with National Air Cargo (NAC) based in New York, USA, will see NAC use the Etihad Rail network to connect with its air freight operations in the GCC.
  • 18 Aug 2013 (WAM) - MoU signed between Etihad Rail and Bertschi (Switzerland), a logistics company specialising in liquid and dry bulk products for the chemical industry. The MoU is for Bertschi to use the Etihad Rail network for transportation of equipment and products including hazardous and non-hazardous bulk liquid and dry chemicals within the UAE and other GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia.
  • 03 Jul 2013 (WAM) - Etihad Rail future plans:
    • Etihad Rail expects to run its first train service before the end of 2013 according to a statement from Shadi Malak, Executive Director of Commercial and Operations - "Our locomotives also arrived in April 2013, and we are on schedule for the first train to run from Habshan to Ruwais by the end of this year."
    • He also said "Looking at stage one alone, construction is well under way, the sleeper factory in Mirfa is fully functional, and wagons have already arrived. ... Stage two to link trains between Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be in place by 2017," referring to freight transport, not people.
    • And about a passenger train service he said "Etihad Rail plans to operate some passenger trains between Abu Dhabi and Dubai once stage three is in place by 2018. We have considered the possibility of another separate connection between the two cities."
    • Etihad Rail will connect or become part of a GCC railway network, with other countries starting construction in 2013 and completion planned for 2018 (unknown how realistic that is though).
    • Plans to connect to countries further afield might include Iraq via Kuwait, Jordan via Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen. The report quoted him saying "Syria and Turkey are also target destinations, representing an important step towards a European connection. In the long term, this will include exploring the possibility of extending a link via Central Asia and China, as well as other dynamic Asian economies. Similarly, linking with Turkey’s rail network through Jordan will give GCC member states access to the European rail grid."
    • Regarding financing and any IPO possibility, the WAM report said He said that Etihad Rail has no plans to follow public-private partnership in future or float an initial public offering to fund the project.
  • 05 Dec 2012 (WAM) - MoU signed with Sharaf Logistics for transportation of customers' goods.
  • 30 Oct 2012 - Khaleej Times reported that the Abu Dhabi to Dubai rail route had been decided with land allocated for the route.
  • 15 Oct 2012 (WAM) - MoU signed with Global Shipping and Logistics LLC (GSL) of Dubai with GSL using the Etihad Rail network for a temperature-controlled supply chain (cold chain).
  • 25 Sep 2012 (WAM) - MOU signed with HOYER Global Transport BV, (Netherlands) to develop a bulk liquid transportation system across the UAE and with links to the GCC countries.
  • 19 Sep 2012 (WAM) - CEO Richard Bowker replaced by Dr Nasser Al Mansoori. The report didn't say why, or what happened to Mr Bowker, although Reuters reported that he had left in March 2012.
  • 08 May 2012 (WAM) - Etihad Rail and DP World signed signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of an intermodal rail terminal in Jebel Ali Port.
  • 02 May 2012 - Etihad Rail unveiled its branding, logo, and paint scheme for its locomotives (WAM news).
  • 21 Mar 2012 - news reports said the Etihad Rail CEO, Richard Bowker, resigned to become a director at The Football League (the governing body of British football). Acting CEO will be Hazem Mobarak.
  • 26 Octr 2011 (press release) - Civil Tracks and Works construction contract worth AED 3.3 billion (US$900 million) awarded by Etihad Rail to Saipem S.p.A. (Italy), Tecnimont S.p.A. (Italy), and Dodsal Engineering and Construction PTE Ltd. (Mumbai, India, with an office in Dubai, UAE) to build tracks and infrastructure on the route between Habshan and Ruwais by 2013.
  • 23 Oct 2011 (WAM news) - Contract signed with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to transport granulated sulfur for export along the rail route between Habshan and Ruwais from ADNOC oil and gas fields.
  • 28 Sep 2011 (press release) - Etihad Rail signed an MOU with Arkan Building Materials to investigate transportation of raw materials and finished products manufactured by Arkan.
  • 06 Aug 2011 (press release) - Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Emirates Steel in the UAE to use the railway network as the primary transport mode for steel transportation in the UAE.
  • 31 Jul 2011 (WAM news) - Etihad Rail ordered 7 locomotives from Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD, USA), delivery date 2012.
  • 12 Apr 2011 - MoU signed with Etisalat to collaborate on telecommunications and infrastructure development.
  • 24 Mar 2011 - The National reported that the dedicated Abu Dhabi-Dubai passenger link had been cancelled (Etihad Rail ... is no longer planning a dedicated passenger link between Abu Dhabi and Dubai) according to Richard Bowker, CEO of Etihad Rail.
  • 24 Mar 2011 - name changed to Etihad Rail from Union Railway Company (press release)
GCC rail network and GCC countries with rail networks
  • Saudi Arabia - has over 1300 km of railway routes connecting Riyadh with the Gulf coast oil production areas, providing transport for industry and military use (no passenger trains?). The Saudi Arabia Rail Master Plan has another 5,500 km of track development by 2025. As of 2013, Saudi is the only GCC country with an operating rail network (17 Jun 2013 - WAM).
Last update Friday 22-Nov-2013. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
Related pages
  • Dubai Metro
  • Etihad Airlines - same name but not directly related (although both Etihad Rail and Etihad Airways are owned by the Abu Dhabi Government).
  • Public transport in UAE
Related websites (new window)
  • www.etihadrail.ae - (official?) Etihad Rail website. Note that www.etihadrail.com is not the Etihad Rail website.


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