Etihad Rail, the UAE’s rail network project, has taken a step towards beginning passenger operations with the first passenger journey between Abu Dhabi and Al Dhannah. 

The project milestone was marked by Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, the managing director and group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), to highlight the route’s future use by ADNOC staff. 

“ADNOC’s partnership with Etihad Rail is fully aligned with our strategic priorities to successfully implement transport solutions that contribute to the UAE’s development and future prosperity,” he said. 

“The Etihad Rail project is more than just a rail network, it will serve as a vital artery for economic growth and infrastructure development while driving decarbonisation, for the benefit of the UAE and its people.” 

While only a demonstrational journey, as passenger services are still in development, the journey marks a significant moment for the major project, following on from the beginning of freight journeys on the network after its completion in February 2023

Construction began on the project at the beginning of 2016 and has since seen 900km of track laid across all seven emirates in the country and connecting to neighbouring Oman and Saudi Arabia. 

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By GlobalData

When passenger services begin on the network, at a date not yet specified, 400 passenger capacity trains will travel up to 200kmph, with routes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai set to take 50 minutes and Adu Dhabi to Fujairah expected to take 100 minutes. 

Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “Etihad Rail is strengthening the position that the UAE enjoys as a leading global hub within the logistics, transportation and infrastructure sectors, by providing more effective and reliable transportation solutions in line with the highest international standards and connecting cities and industries with a safe and sustainable rail network.”