Etihad Rail has signed four preliminary agreements with international companies for rail operations, maintenance and passenger stations as the national railway project moves ahead.
The agreements were signed with SNCF International — France’s state-owned railway company, French rail company Alstom, Progress Rail — which provides railroad and transit products and services, and Thales Group — which specialises in advanced technologies, Etihad Rail said on Friday.
“Our partners play a key role in supporting us to achieve our mission of developing and operating a rail network that incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, and provides safe, sustainable and reliable solutions,” said Ahmed Al Musawa, executive director of the passenger sector at Etihad Rail.
“Through partnering with some of the biggest names in the rail, cargo and transportation industry, we assure our clients that we are developing the UAE National Rail Network as per the highest international standards, to meet their requirements and support them in meeting their business objectives, driving a sustainable, resilient and cost-effective supply chain.”
Sustainability will be a key part of Etihad Rail’s collaboration with Alstom, as they work on transitioning to zero-emission solutions, while the collaboration with Thales is focused on the digitalisation of services.
With Progress Rail, discussions will focus on “potential opportunities for the development and deployment of an autonomous, zero-emissions port-to-port concept, which could serve as the foundation for future rail operations globally”, Etihad Rail said.
The Etihad Rail line will span approximately 1,200km. It will link 11 cities and areas across the UAE, from the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah in the north.
Etihad Rail’s new high-tech trains were unveiled last month with the diesel-and-electricity-operated locomotives providing 4,600-brake horsepower.
They are also equipped with the latest filtering innovations such as the pulse sand filtering system, which ensures that the train operates at high effectiveness and efficiency when passing through desert regions.
They feature on-board technologies and systems such as the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2, a highly advanced signalling system, to bolster safety, reliability and efficiency.
Work on the project has progressed quickly this year, with more than 70 per of the line constructed as of last month.
No start date for the passenger service has been made public, but officials have 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 travel at speeds up to 200 kilometres an hour with the capacity to carry about 400 people.
Travelling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and from Dubai to Fujairah, will take 50 minutes, while Abu Dhabi to Al Ruwais will take 70 minutes, and Abu Dhabi to Fujairah 100 minutes.