Etihad Rail has been granted safety approvals by the Federal Transport Authority, which will allow it to begin commercial operations on the first leg of its route.
“We are very pleased to have granted these important safety authorisations for the first stage of the UAE’s national rail network, allowing Etihad Rail to begin commercial operations,” said Abdullah Bilhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works and FTA chairman.
“This is a result of the combined efforts of the FTA, Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai and Etihad Rail,” he said.
Nasser Alsowaidi, the Etihad Rail chairman, said: “The start of commercial operations is one of the biggest milestones we have achieved to date.”
The 264-kilometre route from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais is the first stage of a planned 1,200km route across the Emirates that will connect the UAE to its Gulf neighbours, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Oman to the east.
Etihad Rail will initially open as a commercial railway, allowing companies to ship heavy goods by rail across the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Two daily trains will each carry 11,000 tonnes of sulphur across the route.
The railway will transport seven million tonnes of sulphur when it is at full capacity, the Federal Transport Authority said.
Etihad Rail’s second leg is a route connecting the first stage to the Saudi border at the rail’s westernmost point, the Omani border and to the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai to the north-east.