ABU DHABI: Etihad Rail has reached a new milestone in the development of the UAE’s National Rail Network, as the first batch of the company’s new and advanced rolling stock fleet arrive in the UAE.
The locomotives and wagons reached the UAE via the Zayed and Al-Musaffah Ports and will operate across the entire network once it is completed.
The achievement was announced during an event hosted by Etihad Rail at Al-Mirfa city in Abu Dhabi.
The event was attended by Etihad Rail CEO Shadi Malak, Progress Rail CEO Marty Haycraft and MENA Executive Director at CRRC Henry Pang, as well as a number of other senior officials.
“The arrival of the new fleet of locomotives and wagons to the UAE on schedule reflects the level of the achievements that the Etihad Rail project is realizing in the development of the UAE National Railway Network,” Mohammed Al Marzouqi, executive director of the rail relations sector at Etihad Rail, said.
The National Rail Network is part of Etihad Rail’s efforts to achieve the objectives of the UAE Railways Programme, the largest land transport system of its kind in the UAE.
The program was launched as part of the Projects of the 50, the largest collection of national strategic projects aimed at establishing a new phase of development across the UAE for the next 50 years.
It aims to establish a new roadmap for transporting goods and passengers by train across the country, thus developing a sustainable land transport system that connects UAE cities via railway.
The company plans to expand its fleet to 45 heavy transport locomotives, which is six times the size of its current fleet.
Progress Rail, a subsidiary of US-based Caterpillar and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of diesel and electric locomotives, will manufacture and supply the new EMD SD70 electro-motive diesel locomotives.
“Our diesel-electric EMD SD70 locomotives meet the highest global standards. Etihad Rail’s new fleet is a great example of what our customers have come to expect from our advanced locomotives, which are designed to perform in extreme conditions,” Haycraft said.
The company’s new fleet aims to house more than 1,000 multi-purpose wagons, which is three times the size of its current fleet.
China’s CRRC Group, one of the world’s leading providers of sustainable development solutions of the railway industry, will manufacture and supply the new fleet of wagons.
“CRRC is excited to be a partner in stage two of the UAE National Rail Network, contributing to the growth of Etihad Rail, the UAE and the region by supporting the development of the rail industry,” CRRC UAE General Manager Ben Quak said.
“We are pleased to witness the successful delivery of the multi-function wagons, which will contribute to reducing carbon emissions and provide safe, sustainable and efficient services,” Quak said.
“Upon completion and becoming fully operational, the network will contribute to revitalising and bolstering economic growth in the UAE, particularly during the next 50 years, by providing reliable and safe freight services with high efficiency,” Al-Marzouqi said.
The executive director said: “The network will also contribute to the region’s economic growth upon its connection with the Gulf Cooperation Council network, which will consolidate the UAE’s position as a regional and global center for shipping and logistics services. This achievement comes as part of the company’s preparations to operate the network according to the highest global standards in the future.
“We made sure that the company’s new fleet is among the most modern in the region and the world, providing the highest safety criteria in terms of design, ensuring the best specifications for sustainability and environmental protection, and integrating the latest technologies for train operation and monitoring.
“We also ensured that the fleet suits the local geography and climate in the UAE and the region and meets the current and future needs of Etihad Rail’s clients, including industrial companies, shipping companies, building materials suppliers, quarriers and more.”
Etihad Rail’s new fleet was designed to withstand the GCC region’s geographic, climate and high temperatures and humidity levels, guaranteeing the highest levels of performance, efficiency and sustainability.
The fleet is expected to improve the UAE’s transport and logistical services system, strengthening the country’s position in the logistics sector on a regional and international scale. It will increase the UAE National Rail Network’s capacity to more than 60 million tons of goods a year.
Etihad Rail’s new fleet will also help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70 to 80 percent.