Etihad Rail says first two of seven have arrived; slated to start operating by end of 2013
Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE's national railway network, has taken delivery of the first two of seven locomotives to be shipped to the UAE.
The locomotives arrived as construction on stage one of the UAE's national rail project continues to progress, the company said in a statement.
The two locomotives are the first rolling stock to arrive since the delivery of the company's batch of wagons last December, together with which will form the UAE's first trains.
The locomotives, which hold the train's engines, will be moved to Etihad Rail's site at Mirfa in the Western Region in preparation for the impending launch of the first phase of the rail project, which will transport granulated sulphur from sources in Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais for export.
Electro-Motive Diesel, a US-based company, designed and manufactured the locomotives for Etihad Rail.
Dr Nasser Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: "The arrival of these locomotives is a remarkable step forward and another indicator that we are fast approaching the commencement of operations for stage one.
"The project is progressing on schedule and we are on track to see the first train run between Habshan and Ruwais by the end of this year."
The SD70ACS locomotive is service-proven, having successfully operated in the most challenging operating conditions globally.
Phase one of the UAE rail network will extend 264km in the west of the country from Shah and Habshan near Abu Dhabi to Ruwais.
Upon completion, the UAE's national railway network will span about 1,200 km and form part of the planned Gulf-wide railway network.
It will connect urban and peripheral communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development.
The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway Network - linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.
The tendering process is already in progress for Stage Two, which will connect the railway to Mussafah, the Gulf ports of Khalifa and Jebel Ali, and the Saudi and Omani borders.
Preliminary engineering for Stage Three, which will connect the rest of the Northern Emirates, is also well underway.