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UAE: New railway services announced in Abu Dhabi

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Railway services will be established between Abu Dhabi city and Al Dhannah in Al Dhafra, it was announced on Wednesday. An agreement to this effect was signed between Etihad Rail, developer and operator of the UAE National Rail Network, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

Located about 250km west of Abu Dhabi, Al Dhannah is home to 29,000 residents. The transformation of the rural desert town began in the 1970s when it was identified as the site to house the industrial staff population of Adnoc.

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Through the latest partnership, Adnoc employees will be able to travel between the Capital city and Al Dhannah in a train in the future.

Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Office of Development and Martyrs Families Affairs at the Presidential Court, said the partnership showcases “the vision of Etihad Rail to provide world-class passenger experiences”.

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Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Managing Director and Group CEO of Adnoc, said: “This partnership with Etihad Rail underscores Adnoc’s commitment to supporting sustainable transportation solutions and infrastructure development projects in the UAE. It also highlights Adnoc’s drive to explore opportunities to strengthen partnerships and implement solutions and technologies that accelerate efforts to reduce emissions, as we work towards our Net Zero by 2045 target.”

The project showcases opportunities for other companies to explore similar partnerships.

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Etihad Rail is continuing to progress the development of its passenger services. In February 2022, it signed a Dh1.99-billion green loan agreement with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB); and another worth Dh1.2 billion in June 2022 with Spain’s CAF company for designing, manufacturing, supplying, and maintaining passenger trains.

The first phase of the Etihad Rail has been fully operational since 2016, offering freight services. Announced in 2021, the rail passenger service aims to connect 11 cities. With top speeds of 200kmph, the network will see passengers travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes; and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100. It is expected to cater to 36.5 million passengers annually by 2030.

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