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Etihad Rail network to link UAE to Saudi Arabia

The 1200km mega project is now in its second phase

Launched in 2009, the Etihad Rail project is into its second phase of completion. The first phase, which covers a stretch of track between Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais in the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi, became operational in 2016. Now, stage two of the project – stretching 1,000km from Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast – is advancing rapidly.

Planned stops along the network include trading hubs in Abu Dhabi, KIZAD, Khalifa Port, Jebel Ali Port, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

Eventually, the rail network will link all seven emirates to Saudi Arabia and form part of a wider GCC network. Though freight is currently the focus, the project’s original mandate included a potential passenger element. 

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As well as logistical benefits, the project aims to have a positive impact on the environment. Since the opening of the first phase, rail journeys have translated into removing two million road trips by trucks, resulting in a 70 to 80% reduction in carbon emissions. 

Etihad Rail has partnered with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) to help ensure minimal wildlife and heritage disruption as a result of the track’s construction.

Project planners have avoided crossing breedings sites and used technology to limit sound levels, while replanting any vegetation disturbed by the development. Furthermore, underpasses will be built so that wildlife, including camels, gazelles and reptiles can safely cross the tracks.

For more information, visit www.etihadrail.ae

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