The network is being developed and implemented in three main stages:
Status: Commercial activity for Etihad Rail commenced in December 2015 after final safety authorisations were granted by the Federal Transport Authority. To date, Etihad Rail has transported more than 20 million tonnes of granulated sulphur (the equivalent of around 1 million truck trips), for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), without a Lost Time Incident and with Zero Loss Time Injuries.
One single train journey removes approximately 300 trucks from the road, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 70%-80% compared to the amount emitted by the trucks required to transport the same tonnage.
Location: Stage One of the rail network links the gas fields at Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais where granulated sulphur is processed for export.
Capacity: Stage One has the capacity to transport 22,000 tonnes of granulated Sulphur daily (7.2 million tonnes yearly) and has transported over 20 million tonnes so far.
Length (km): 264 km
Locomotives: Seven state-of-the-art locomotives from U.S.-based Electro-Motive Diesel, equipped with the ETCS level 2 in-cab European signaling system and international standard safety features.
ETCS (European Train Control System) Level 2 is a radio based system which displays signalling and movement authority directly to the cab. The train is continuously sending data to the Radio Block Centre (RBC) to report its exact position and direction. Trains refine their position with sensors such as accelerometers, odometers or radar.
The Etihad Rail network is of standard gauge, mainly double track, designed for an integrated transport network and mixed-use traffic to enable trans-national interoperability.
Wagons: Stage One is operating with up to 110 wagons per run, fully equipped with extended safety features including ECP brakes and derailment protection. Weighing 30 tonnes each unloaded and 130 tonnes loaded, the wagons are covered hopper wagons featuring top hatch covers for loading and “kwik drop” bottom doors for unloading.
Location: Stage Two will extend 605 kilometers from Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the east coast,to be followed by future route additions. The network will ultimately connect the ports of Jebel Ali in Dubai, Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi, ICAD / Mussafah in Abu Dhabi, Khor Fakkan and the Port of Fujairah, with the existing line at Ruwais, effectively uniting the major industrial ports and trading centres of the country.
Length (km): 605 km
Status: Contracts for the initial phase of Stage Two which have been awarded for design and build, civil engineering and track works of the initial 139-kilometer stretch of the UAE rail network to connect Stage One at Ruwais with Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia, opening up the first international leg of the pan-GCC rail network.
Contracts for the Tarif to Saih Shuaib, Jebel Ali to Sharjah and Sharjah to Fujairah lines will be announced by summer of 2019, to be followed by future route additions, spurs and branch lines.
The volume of goods transported will increase from seven million tons per year on Stage One, to more than fifty million tons across the network.
MoUs and agreements have been signed with a variety of authorities. These include:
• Memorandum of Understanding with the General Administration of Abu Dhabi Customs, which aims to facilitate customs operations and procedures for the Etihad Rail project to enable trains to cross international borders smoothly and easily.
• MoU with the Higher Institute for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp), aimed at allocating land for the construction of a logistics center.
• MoUs signed with the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai, the Planning and Survey Department of Sharjah and the Municipality of Fujairah to reserve the tracks, corridors and adjacent lands for Stage Two.
• An agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports to build a freight station at Khalifa Port, which will significantly enhance the capacity of the port and increase the usage of the Etihad Rail network.
• Etihad Rail has also signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding with a multitude of companies across a wide range of industries that have chosen to use the railway. These include companies involved in logistics and transport, construction, port operators, industrial zones, agriculture, energy, telecommunications, and a broad spectrum of other strategic partners.