By Andy Sambidge
Master developer Etihad Rail says wagons received for first stage of transport project
Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE's national railway network, has announced that it has received its first shipment of wagons.
The vehicles will be used in stage one of the rail project linking Shah and Habshan to Ruwais in the Western Region, the company said in a statement.
Dr Nasser Saif Al-Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: "The timely arrival of the wagons is yet another indicator of the rapid progress being made on this strategic national project.
He said construction on the first stage of the rail project, which is being developed in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), was "far along" with the first trains expected to be in operation within a year.
The UAE railway network comprises three stages with the first stage underway after a $900m civil and track works contract was awarded in October 2011. Phase one will link the western region cities of Habshan and Ruwais by 2013 and connect Shah and Habshan by 2014.
The second stage will connect the Abu Dhabi rail network to Jebel Ali in Dubai as well as links to the borders of Saudi Arabia and Oman. The third phase will expand the network to the northern emirates.
The network will also form a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council Railway Network - linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.
Al-Mansoori added: "The rail project will change the face of transportation in the UAE, playing a significant role in building a sustainable economy by promoting growth in various business sectors, providing jobs for the local workforce."
Etihad Rail contracted China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation Limited (CSR) last year to supply 240 covered wagons for the transport of granulated sulphur in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.
Etihad Rail has also contracted United States-based Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), one of the world's largest builders of diesel-electric locomotives, to design and manufacture seven heavy haul freight locomotives.
The recently inaugurated Khalifa Port will be linked to Etihad Rail's network during stage two of the project.