All you need to know about UAE national railway network

Sheikh Mohammed witnesses the inauguration of the UAE National Railway Network

by Staff Reporter
Published: Updated:
All you need to know about UAE national railway network

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has witnessed the inauguration of the UAE National Railway Network at the main centre for control and maintenance in Al Fayah region in Abu Dhabi.

He affirmed that the UAE national railway network is an important milestone in the country’s development journey, and an ambitious project that contributes to strengthening the country’s preparations for the future.

Sheikh Mohammed said: “We are proud of the performance of our sons and daughters who have worked hard over the years to build an ambitious strategic project that will propel our national economy to greater heights.”

His Highness added: “Connecting the Emirates via a national railway network strengthens our capabilities and competitiveness, and consolidates our unity.”

Cargo train operations

The ambitious development project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region and aims to link the seven emirates with a main railway network.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid has also launched the cargo train operations across all the emirates. The network contributes to supporting companies’ businesses and enhancing investment opportunities.

UAE national rail network

The main line of the UAE National Rail Network extends from Ghuweifat on the border of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to Fujairah, forming an essential part of the global supply network.

All you need to know about UAE national railway network

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The stage one of the Network has been fully operational since January 2016, where the stage two of the project started in early 2020.

Tourism benefits

The UAE national railway network will contribute to supporting the national economy at a value of Dhs200 billion, and saving Dhs8 billion in the cost of road maintenance. The network’s tourism benefits are estimated at Dhs23 billion.

The project has contributed to supporting the local industry by assigning 215 companies and local entities. Also, 70% of the building materials used in the project are produced by the local industry.

UAE Net Zero by 2050

The project also supports the UAE’s sustainable development goals and contributes to achieving the UAE Net Zero by 2050, through reducing carbon emissions in the road transport sector by 21%, and reducing road transportation emissions per capita by 40%, by 2050.


This national project contributed to supporting the Emiratisation agenda and graduating qualified cadres to work in the sector.

Jobs at Etihad Rail

Now Emirati nationals are taking over a number of technical positions at Etihad Rail, including the roles of train captain, traffic controller, train inspector in addition to other specializations. 11 contractors, 25 consultants, and 28,000 specialists worked on the project.

It took 133 million working hours to complete, and 40,000 approvals from 180 government agencies.

All you need to know about UAE national railway network

More than 1,000 operational documents have been produced, including instructions, handbooks, guidelines, policies, operating procedures, agreements, and others.

Railway routes

The UAE national railway network passes through a variety of geographical terrains, within a large-scale engineering plan that includes the construction of 593 bridges and crossings of all types, and 9 tunnels with a length of 6.5 km.

It took 120 million cubic meters of excavation work to complete, to ensure the highest levels of vehicular traffic flow under the tracks of the railway network.

Freight trains

The fleet of the most modern freight trains in the region includes 38 locomotives, with a capacity of 60 million tons of goods annually, and more than 1,000 multi-purpose vehicles.

Each goods transport’s locomotive operates with a power of 4,500 horsepower, equivalent to 3,400 kilowatts.

It is one of the most powerful freight train engines in the Middle East.

Trains’ speed

The freight trains will run up to 120 km/h. The standard width of the rail is 1,435 metres, and it operates under the European ETCS level 2 signalling system.

It has been specially designed to withstand the geographical nature, climatic conditions, high temperatures and humidity in the GCC region, to ensure high levels of performance, efficiency and sustainability.

The freight trains will connect 4 major ports. It will include 7 logistics centres across the country, to serve trains and related businesses.

Charging stations

The network also includes a number of charging stations located in Ruwais, Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), Khalifa Port, Dubai Industrial City, Jebel Ali Port, Al Ghail and Fujairah Port. These locations are a major hub for local and regional distribution and logistics services, as it includes customs warehouses and on-site cargo inspection services.

All you need to know about UAE national railway network

The UAE National Railway Network will provide solutions for investors and customers, due to its ability to transport all types of goods, including petrochemicals, raw steel, limestone, cement, building materials, industrial and domestic waste, aluminium, food commodities, and general cargo.

Sheikh Theyab Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Etihad Rail noted that the UAE, with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, and the follow-up of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is keen to strengthen its union though launching new mega projects such as the UAE National Railway Network, which connects the seven Emirates and accelerate the country’s economic development.

38 locomotives, 1,000 wagons

Sheikh Theyab said: “Emirati talents, with the support of the UAE leadership, have turned the dream of our founding fathers into reality. Thanks to them we won the bet, and we succeeded in launching a railway network with international specifications that extends to about 900 kilometres across the Emirates. We announce the inauguration operation of the freight trains throughout the UAE with a fleet of 38 locomotives and more than 1,000 wagons capable of transporting all types of goods.”

He  pointed out that “The completion of the network according to the schedule and the approved budget, would not have been possible without the cohesion of our talented Emirati cadres.”

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