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Tue 15 Nov 2011 07:01 PM

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Phase 2 of UAE's $11bn rail plan to launch 'in weeks'

Etihad Rail's CEO says second stage will connect Abu Dhabi to Jebel Ali in Dubai

Phase 2 of UAE's $11bn rail plan to launch 'in weeks'
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Etihad Rail, the developer of a railway network in the UAE, will launch the second phase of its $11bn project in a "few weeks" with contracts to be awarded by the third quarter next year, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

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.

"We will start the contracting process in the next few weeks, seek expressions of interest and the contracts (award) by second quarter or third quarter 2012," Richard Bowker told reporters at a MEED conference in the UAE capital.

"This stage is bigger than the first in scale and scope and will connect ports with industrial and urban centres."

The state-owned firm did not provide cost details for the second stage.

The UAE railway network comprises three stages with the first stage underway after a $900m civil and track works contract was awarded in late October.

Phase one will link the western region cities of Habshan and Ruwais by 2013 and connect Shah and Habshan by 2014.

The third phase will expand the network to the northern emirates. 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.

Bowker said "no final decision" has been taken on the financing for the rail project.

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