United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) railway developer and operator Etihad Rail has awarded contracts to connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai with a rail line.

With a total value of AED4.4bn ($1.2bn), the two contracts encompass civil and track works included in Packages B and C for Stage Two of the national railway network.

Both packages were awarded to a group comprising China Railway Construction, along with Ghantoot Transport and General Contracting.

Package B includes a 216km section, while Package C covers 94km. Both packages form part of the larger 605km line stretching from Ghuweifat to the port of Fujairah.

Additionally, the packages link Khalifa Port, Khalifa Industrial City and Jebel Ali Port.

The scope of works includes the design and development of railway infrastructure, such as earthworks, building bridges and tunnels, track-laying and animal-crossings.

It also includes connecting Package B with Package A, and Package C with Package B. Etihad Rail has already awarded Package A contract works to a consortium of the China State Construction Engineering and South Korean firm SK Engineering and Construction.

Etihad Rail chairman Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “Etihad Rail will sustain the growth of our transport industry and freight carriage sector throughout the UAE, as railway systems are one of the most important means of transport on which countries depend to achieve their economic and social objectives.”

Stage One of the national network is 264km long and is currently operational in the UAE. Once the overall programme is complete, the UAE rail network will span nearly 1,200km.

The rail network is expected to support economic growth and social development across the regions. Furthermore, it will facilitate connectivity with neighbouring countries.