The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the UAE Railways Program; an initiative which is set to reduce transport-related emissions and integrate passenger and freight rail services across the country.
Valued at AED50 billion (€12 billion), the UAE Railways Program constitutes an integrated strategy for the UAE’s railway sector for the next 50 years and will support the UAE’s wider efforts to diversify and decarbonise its oil-dependent economy.
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The Program has three key projects.
In the first project, the country will further develop freight services, including those already operated by Etihad Rail, an authority established in 2009 which is responsible for the development of the UAE’s passenger and freight rail networks.
Under the second project, 11 cities from all corners of the UAE will be interconnected by high-speed services. It is projected that the completion of this project will allow passengers to travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in as little as 50 minutes, which represents a significant advantage over driving, which currently takes over 90 minutes, and that the number of rail passengers will exceed 36.6 million annually by 2030.
Lastly, under the third project, UAE officials will inaugurate a rail innovation centre with the aims of ensuring that the rail services across the country integrate smart technologies as they become available, and that urban light rail systems are properly integrated with the national interurban network.
Speaking at the Program’s announcement during a special event of the Dubai Expo 2020, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said “The UAE’s infrastructure is among the best in the world, and the Etihad Rail will further enhance UAE excellence in the logistical field. The project comes in line with the environmental policy of the UAE and it will reduce carbon emissions by 70-80%”.
It is currently unknown whether the UAE’s rail operators will follow their French and Canadian counterparts in offsetting carbon emissions and investing in less-polluting hybrid-electric locomotives.
Etihad Rail Press Release: https://www.etihadrail.ae/mohammed-bin-rashid-and-mohamed-bin-zayed-launch-uae-rail-program/
Image: Tim Adams (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dubai_Metro_in_Dubai_United_Arab_Emirates.png), „Dubai Metro in Dubai United Arab Emirates“, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode