Etihad Rail sign agreement for railway passenger transport services

Etihad Rail have signed an agreement to finance railway passenger transport services with First Abu Dhabi Bank, aiming to connect cities of the UAE.

Etihad Rail

Credit: Etihad Rail

Etihad Rail and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) have signed an agreement for financing railway passenger transport services, with a total value of $541,790,037. The agreement comes as part of the UAE National Railways Programme, the largest land transport system of its kind in the UAE, where First Abu Dhabi Bank will be the Certified Lead Arranger for the loan, as part of the agreement. The agreement was signed by Engineer Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, and Hana Al Rostamani, Group Chief Executive Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Etihad Rail’s passenger services will be the first of its kind, connecting the cities and regions of the UAE. The project is one of the three strategic projects of the National Railways Programme, which was launched by the UAE government in December 2021. The Programme forms the largest land transport system in the UAE, which is set outline the future of the railway sector in the coming years, in addition to providing freight rail and integrated transportation services.

“Through this agreement, we will move full steam ahead with our mission to provide passenger railway services, which will bolster public transport system in the UAE and the wider region,” Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said. “Etihad Rail is an essential component of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rail network, and this agreement brings us one step closer towards realising our strategic goals of strengthening the UAE’s reputation as a regional and global transport hub.”

 “By connecting the United Arab Emirates through a fully integrated rail network, Etihad Rail will bring significant economic and social benefits to the businesses and communities it serves,” Hana Al Rostamani, Group Chief Executive Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank, said. “This will empower future growth and providing opportunities for all and drive forward economic development for our nation.”

With the launch of the railway passenger services, the passenger trains will strengthen connectivity between the UAE by connecting 11 cities and locations in the country from Al Sila to Fujairah. Travelling at a speed of 200kmph, with a capacity of 400 passengers per train, the number of passengers is expected to increase to reach more than 36.5 million passengers annually across the country by 2030. Passengers will be able to commute between Abu Dhabi to Dubai in only 50 minutes, between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah in only 100 minutes, between Dubai and Fujairah in only 50 minutes, and between Abu Dhabi and Al Ruwais in only 70 minutes.

Etihad Rail is forging ahead towards completing Stage Two of the UAE National Rail Network. Stage One of the Network has been operational since 2016. The project is progressing at an accelerated pace with 70 per cent of the project being completed in less than 24 months, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Etihad Rail has cooperated with 180 entities and issued more than 40 thousand official papers.