Etihad Rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in UAE climate

The UAE’s national railway mega project is moving full steam ahead after receiving delivery of a new batch of advanced trains.

Etihad Rail, the operator of the network, said the arrival of the locomotives and wagons marked a major milestone for the scheme.

The rolling stock was transported by way of Zayed and Al Musaffah Ports.

The initial fleet, which will run across the vast rail network, was unveiled at an event held by Etihad Rail at Al Mirfa City in the Al Dhafrah region.

Etihad Rail said it is working to increase its batch of heavy freight trains to 45, about six times its current number.

Etihad said it aimed to house 1,000 multi-purpose wagons, three times the size of its current stock.

China’s CRRC Group will handle the manufacturing and supply of the new fleet of wagons.

“The arrival of the new fleet of locomotives and wagons to the UAE on schedule reflects the level of the achievements that the Etihad Rail project is realising in the development of the UAE National Railway Network,” said Mohammed Al Marzouqi, executive director of the Rail Relations Sector at Etihad Rail.

“We made sure that the company’s new fleet is among the most modern in the region and the world, providing the highest safety criteria in terms of design, ensuring the best specifications for sustainability and environmental protection, and integrating the latest technologies for train operation and monitoring.

New trains built for all conditions

Etihad Rail’s new fleet was designed specifically to withstand the Gulf’s climate and landscape.

Each of the new diesel-and-electricity-operated locomotives, provides 4,600 brake horsepower and are equipped with the latest filtering innovations such as the pulse sand filtering system, which ensures that the train operates at high effectiveness and efficiency when passing through desert regions.

They also use technologies which support efforts to reduce emissions and feature on-board technologies and systems such as the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2, a highly advanced signalling system, to bolster safety, reliability and efficiency.

Each locomotive can pull 100 wagons, which is equivalent to the capacity of 300 trucks. The volume of goods transported by these trains is equivalent to 5,600 daily truck trips.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

A rendering of a train to be used on the UAE’s new passenger rail service. All Photos: Etihad Rail

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

Passenger cabins are spacious, allowing people to travel in comfort.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

The commercial benefits of moving cargo meant the initial focus was on freight.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

Now the focus has turned to the passenger network.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

The service will offer a reliable, safe, efficient, comfortable and environmentally friendly way to travel across the region.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

Etihad Rail is working closely with the Federal Transport Authority and transport authorities throughout the country to develop existing networks to improve passenger connections.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

Eventually, population centres across the UAE will be connected to neighbouring GCC countries.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

Passenger carriages will feature sleek, well-equipped cabins.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

Work on Etihad Rail began in 2009.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

Greenhouse gases will be slashed by more than 2.2 million tonnes a year once the network is fully operational.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

The new passenger rail service is expected to significantly reduce road congestion and the number of traffic accidents.

“Our diesel-electric SD70 locomotives meet the highest global standards,” said Marty Haycraft, president and chief executive of train supplier Progress Rail.

“Etihad Rail’s new fleet is a great example of what our customers have come to expect from our advanced locomotives, which are designed to perform in extreme conditions.”

Rail project is right on track

Progress of the UAE’s first railway is advancing rapidly, with Etihad Rail saying more than 70 per of the line has been constructed.

In June, it was announced the first passenger station would be built in Fujairah.

The passenger trains will travel at speeds up to 200 kilometres an hour and can carry about 400 people. They will link 11 cities and areas across the UAE, from Al Sila in the west to Fujairah in the north.

etihad rail unveils new high-tech trains built to thrive in uae climate

UAE rail map. Photo: Etihad Rail

No start date for the passenger service has been made public, but officials have said more than 36 million people will use the service annually by 2030.

Customers can expect a travel time of 50 minutes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and about 100 minutes from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah, cutting commutes significantly.

The train will also boost the UAE’s sustainability efforts. Carbon emissions will be reduced by 70 to 80 per cent, compared with the amount emitted by lorries, with one train journey replacing about 300 lorries on the road.

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