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UAE Railway Network and Transport

Thursday 21 March 2019 (UAE)   

UAE Railway Network

UAE railway network, transport and trains. Union Rail Company, Abu Dhabi, Dubai information and guide. Union Rail Company name change to Etihad Rail from March 2011. Further updates added to that page.

  • The UAE plans to develop a countrywide railway network covering all emirates, and connecting with a GCC-wide rail network.
  • Total length of the UAE railway line is planned to be 1,200 km (745 miles). Or more - a press release 28 November 2010 said "When completed, there will be 1500km freight and passenger rail network built across the UAE."
  • Construction is expected to start by the end of 2010 (October 2009 reports).
  • Completion date expected to be between 2015 and 2017 (October 2009 reports). Update 28 November 2010 (Reuters) - completion date expected to be 2017.
  • The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will finalise the master plan for aligning Dubai with the UAE railway network by the end of May 2010 according to an 18 May 2010 report in Emirates Business 24-7.
  • Construction start date would be early 2008, completion of Phase I by 2013, length of Phase I track 800 km (31 October 2007 report in Emirates Today). Update 28 November 2010 (Reuters): first construction contracts to be tendered early 2011.
  • Financial adviser is UBS (first reported 28 November 2010?).
  • Train speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour (kph) for freight trains, and up to 200 kph for passenger trains.
UAE rail network phases and stages
  • Stage 0 (first phase) - Shah Habshan Ruwais section between the Shah gas field and ADNOC facility at Ruwais, length 270 km, construction to start mid-2011. Freight trains will transport 10,000 tonnes per day of granulated sulphur between the Shah gas field and the Habshan oil and gas processing facilities. Habshan will then be connected with Ruwais and trains will transport transport 20,000 tonnes per day of sulphur on that section (original data source unknown). This phase will also connect the towns of Mezaira'a, Madinat Zayed, Tarif and Al Mirfa.
  • Stage 1 (second phase) - railway network in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
  • Stage 2 (third phase) - rail network in the Northern Emirates.
Companies involved in the development of the UAE rail network
  • ATKINS - Preliminary Engineering Services Consultant to oversee execution of the three stages of the UAE railway network (23 January 2011 press release).
  • Bechtel - Project Management contract? Terminated in 2010? Unconfirmed. Was an advisor in 2010 also?
  • - Project Management Consultant to be reselected (23 January 2011 press release).
  • Parsons-Systra joint venture (JV) - Project Management Consultant (PMC) (28 November 2010). Terminated January 2011.
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff - Preliminary Engineering (PE) Services Consultant (28 November 2010). Terminated January 2011.
  • UBS - Financial adviser (28 November 2010?).
  • Union Railways Company - operator of the UAE railway network.
UAE rail network construction cost
  • May 2010 - Estimated cost of the UAE rail network is AED 40 billion ($11 billion) according to an Emirates Business 24-7 report.
  • 02 October 2009 - Reuters reported estimated value of the rail network as AED 30 billion ($8.2 billion).
  • 05 July 2009 - The Independent (UK) says the UAE rail network will cost $32 billion.
  • 31 October 2007 - cost (of Phase I only?) AED 11 billion ($3 billion) - Emirates Today.
Union Railway Company / Union Rail Company
  • The Union Railways Company is the UAE Government-owned firm that will operate the railway network in the UAE.
  • Chairman of Union Railways is Hussain al-Nowais.
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will be Richard Bowker according to a report in The Independent (UK) 05 July 2009. The newspaper gave a mixed report of Mr Bowker's reputation in the UK railway industry.
UAE rail network history and timeline
  • 2017 - revised expected completion date.
  • 2015 - first reported completion date expected.
  • 2013 - expected completion date for Phase I (Stage 0). Probably delayed.
  • March 2011 - name changed from Union Railway to Etihad Rail?
  • 23 January 2011 (press release) - Union Railway announced it will tender civil engineering contracts in March 2011, and that construction of the first phase of the railway (or Stage 0), the 270 km Shah Habshan Ruwais section, will begin in mid-2011.
    • Construction and building work includes earthworks, track laying, railway bridges, communications and signaling system installation, depot and project offices at Mirfa.
  • 19 January 2011 - Union Railway terminates contracts with Parsons-Systra, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Atkins appointed as Preliminary Engineering Services Consultant.
  • 13 January 2011 - Reuters reports that Chinese companies appear to be well-placed to be awarded contracts for the UAE railway network, quoting Bill McCahill, Vice-Chairman for Pacific Epoch in Shanghai, as saying "If the decisions are made on price and basic quality of value for money criteria, I don't see how any foreign company could compete unless you get one of the European export-import banks to go in and try to match Chinese financing." Reuters also said that companies including Alstom (France), Siemens (Germany), and Bombardier (Canada) were expected to submit bids, and quoted the Union Railway CEO, Richard Bowker, as saying "There have been companies from China, Korea, Australia, Europe," ... bidding for the initial work.
  • 28 November 2010 (press release) - Union Railway appoints the Parsons-Systra JV as Project Management Consultant (PMC) and Parsons Brinckerhoff as the Preliminary Engineering (PE) Services Consultant for the UAE railway project.
    • Parsons-Systra will be the Union Railway project manager to implement Stage 0 (the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais railway line), and part of Stage 1 (Abu Dhabi and Dubai network) and part of Stage 2 (Northern Emirates network), in addition to supervising the PE work for stages 1 and 2.
    • Parsons Brinckerhoff will finalise the concept then prepare the preliminary design and the tender documents for the construction of Stage 1 and 2 of the network.
  • 21 August 2010 - Bechtel says it has completed the technical services contract for the planning and concept design of the rail network, and it was demobilizing its staff.
  • 02 July 2010 - Union Railway invites contractors to submit formal expressions of interest in the contract to complete civil and tracks works for the phase I UAE national rail project (MEED 02 July 2010).
  • 29 March 2010 - Bechtel (USA) is favored to win the Union Railway project management consultancy contract for Phase I of the railway line according to a MEED report based on comments from undisclosed sources. Bechtel is an advisor on the project.
  • 2008 - Systra (France) and Bechtel (USA) hired as consultants?
  • 2008 - first reported start date of construction (revised to end 2010, then to mid 2011).
UAE rail network international connections
  • UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat city in the Western Region (Al Gharabiya)
  • UAE to Oman via Al Ain.
Gulf Rail Network
  • The UAE railway will be part of the Gulf Rail Network, with lines connecting all six gulf nations, carrying passengers and freight.
  • The Gulf Railway Network completion date is planned for 2017 but that might turn out to be optimistic by several years since large GCC projects are often delayed, sometimes due to political disagreements.
  • Total length of 2117 km along two routes. One route would be from Kuwait to Oman via Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and UAE, with bridges built across some water sections. The other route would be from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia to UAE to Oman.
  • Trains would be diesel-powered with speeds of up to 200 kph.
  • A preliminary study was carried out in 2004 by Parsons Brinckerhoff and Global Investment House.
  • Project consultants are Systra, Khatib and Alami, and Canrail.
  • Estimated cost (in December 2010) is AED 110 billion (US$30 billion).
  • Gulf News reported 01 December 2010 that Mohammad Bin Obaid Al Mazroui, GCC assistant secretary-general for economic affairs, said "The project is commercially and financially feasible. Engineering designs have been submitted and the final report will be submitted to the GCC members next week."
Last update Monday 18-Apr-2011. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
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