The UAE’s national railway network developer and operator Etihad Rail has completed the work to connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai through a direct line.

This project comes within the framework of The UAE Railway Programme.

Introduced under the Projects of the 50, with an investment worth $13.61bn (AED50bn), this programme includes a national network of railway projects that would connect seven emirates.

The final piece on the railway track was placed by UAE Finance Minister Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Etihad Rail chairman Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The completion of this project will now pave way for a new phase of logistic and economic integration between the two emirates.

With a length of 256km, the rail line is designed on the basis of the highest international standards and specifications in connection with environmental aspects, security and quality.

This route is expected to be instrumental in the development of the UAE National Rail Network, facilitate goods transportation within the UAE as well as lower transportation expenses.

The rail line encompasses 29 bridges, 60 crossings and 137 drainage channels.

The entire excavation and backfill work covered 46 million cubic metres, with the involvement of 13,300 workers.

UAE Finance Minister Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed said: “The completion of the main railway of the UAE National Rail Network project between Dubai and Abu Dhabi represents an important pivotal phase that shows the great benefits of this national project in linking all the emirates of the country and enhancing the transportation process between industrial and economic centres, and facilitating transportation within the UAE.”

Last month, Etihad Rail signed a $517m (AED1.9bn) loan agreement with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) for supporting railway passenger transport services in the region.