The latest updates on the passenger train that will link the seven emirates

What’s On is exclusively for the team behind the project…

The UAE is no stranger to ambitious engineering projects, but few pull the chord quite like the development of Etihad Rail. A train line traversing a dramatic desert landscape, carrying passengers and goods, through 11 cities across the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

There’s something particularly romantic about the idea of ​​train travel, especially when it traverses the kind of grand geography found in the United Arab Emirates. This idea of ​​crossing borders, racing towards the horizon with otherworldly plains flooding past the window. And progress on the project appears to be (sorry) quite on track – with the recent announcement that the Abu Dhabi and Dubai lines are now connected.

Last week, Etihad Rail shared spectacular drone footage of one of their locomotives, powering along the Al Mirfa coastal stretch of the line, giving us a little taste of the kinds of scenic views passengers can enjoy. wait when the service finally opens. And we may not have to wait too long before we can travel on this ‘Sandpiercer’ totemic.

For the latest information on timetables and essential train information, What’s On spoke to Ahmed Al Musawa, Executive Director of Passenger Services Sector at Etihad Rail. Here is what he had to say:

What’s new ? How long will it take passengers to travel between the emirates?

Ahmed Al-Musawa: Passenger rail services will allow users to plan trips between the emirates and cities more efficiently, significantly reducing travel time:

  • Traveling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai will only take 50 minutes by train.
  • Traveling from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah will only take 100 minutes.
  • Traveling from Dubai to Fujairah will only take 50 minutes.
  • Traveling from Abu Dhabi to Ruwais will only take 70 minutes

WO: Tell us about the customer journey on passenger trains.

AM: We strive to offer passengers a seamless, integrated and fast experience throughout their journey, from booking their trip to their final destination.

Station experience

  • Etihad Rail’s passenger stations will blend into the urban environment and serve as hubs, revolutionizing the communities around them.
  • Stations are designed to enhance the passenger experience through integration with major transport access modes and the provision of compliant waiting areas prior to scheduled departure for all rail users.
  • Passenger rail stations will include shops, customer service centers, restaurants, baggage drop-off services, prepaid cards, etc.

travel experience

  • Passenger travel will be comfortable and convenient for everyone. Etihad rail is committed to providing an integrated travel solution, using the latest technology available.
  • The trains will be equipped with modern amenities (infotainment systems, charging stations…etc.), food and beverages and ample legroom. Passenger trains will also be equipped with an advanced air conditioning system.
  • Our trains will offer a variety of seating segments to choose from whether they wish to travel in first class, business class or economy class.

WO: How many passengers can the trains carry? What will be the average speed?

AM: The passenger trains will have an initial operating speed of 200 km/h and a capacity of approximately 400 passengers per train. State-of-the-art train features include:

  • Electronically controlled pneumatic brakes
  • European signaling system ETCS level 2
  • Structural Safety Certification
  • High temperature tolerance
  • Fire extinguishing system

WO: Can you tell us about the route and the stops/communities served by the railway?

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AAM: The network will extend from Al Sila to Fujairah, serving 11 cities, towns and communities around the network including: Ruwais, Al Mirfa, Fujairah, Sharjah, Al Dhaid, Abu Dhabi.

WO: What will the stations look like?

  • AM: Stations will be a place where passengers will live “a memorable experience”. Everyone will talk about regional traditions and activities. We want each station to remind passengers of the local traditions of its city and, more importantly, to reflect the values ​​of its people.
  • We intend to do all of this using a design language that expresses movement, safety by using state-of-the-art equipment and design safety standards, speed through a streamlined sailing strategy, confidence by using the best and highest global standards, and rekindles Etihad Rail’s core values ​​of being a connector and unifier of the seven emirates and beyond.

WO: What will the cars look like?

  • AM: The color palette mixed with splendid interior design systems came together to look like effortless comfort that pays homage to the nature of our brand while continuing national standards as a pioneer of “best in class” passenger cars. of their class” in the world, as seen in other mobility solutions born in the Emirates.
  • The cars will be organized to the best international standards, with a predominantly darker toned color scheme, which features soft and striking curved lines, integrated into larger block shapes and flat surfaces to create texture and depth. The windows are ergonomically placed to allow for the optimum inflow of natural light as well as the option of using blinds to reduce sunlight in the cabins. And there are built-in provisions for electronics and home comforts to be clogged on board our trains.

WO: Other than the spectacular desert expanses. What scenic highlights will the train pass through?

  • AM: Passengers will be able to see the most beautiful parts of the country, ranging from views of the city, mountains, highways and deserts, as well as the country’s unique buildings and popular movements.

But when can you expect to travel on Etihad Rail?

There is no official completion date for the project yet, although at a special “Projects of 50” event held at Expo2020 in December 2021, there were some indicators of the timeline. foreseen. It has been confirmed that passenger rail services will be the second phase of the project (after freight) and is expected to carry over 36.5 million passengers per year by 2030.

Images: Etihad Rail

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Jose P. Rogers