Route 2020 is a five-stage extension of the Dubai Metro Red Line up to the World Exposition 2020 (Expo 2020) exhibition site in Dubai, UAE. Estimated to cost $2.9bn, the project represents the first major expansion of the Red Line.

The Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai is undertaking the project, the proposals for which were signed in 2015.  Construction on the metro rail extension route began in September 2016 and operations are planned to commence by May 2020.

The new route is expected to serve approximately 270,000 commuters travelling to and from commercial and residential areas.

Route 2020 project details

The Route 2020 comprises a 15km-long line, of which 11.8km is an elevated section and the remaining 3.2km underground. Its route is designed to cover populated areas in the city to make commutation easy for the visitors and the residents of Dubai not only during the six-month world fair but also in the future.

The 3.2km-long tunnel is located between Discovery Gardens and Green Community and has depth ranging between 12.5m and 36m. It was completed by the end of 2018.

The Route 2020 plan also includes the construction of three main power supply stations and an additional traction power supply station.

Station details

The route includes seven LEED Gold-certified stations, including three interchange and two underground stations. The stations will connect certain prime spots and locations such as the Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates, and The Dubai Investment Park.

The plan also includes the creation of an iconic station at the exhibition site and an interchange station on the Red Line at the Nakheel harbour and tower.

The main Expo station is designed to represent the wings of a plane. The outer structure of the Expo station comprising a sweep and a curve is designed to make it stand out from all the other stations built along the Route 2020.

Rolling stock details

The rolling stock for the extension will be equipped with innovative and energy-efficient LED lighting system, and a fully electronic braking system. A total of 50 trains are expected to run on the Red Line, of which 15 will provide service to the Expo 2020 while the remaining 35 will be employed on the existing Red line to increase its fleet.

The new rolling stock will take just 16 minutes to travel from Dubai Marina to the Expo 2020 site, and will handle approximately 35,000 passengers a day during weekdays and 47,000 passengers during weekends.

The Jebel Ali depot will be expanded to accommodate the additional trains.

Route 2020 construction

Tunnel boring on the Route 2020 was carried out using a tunnel boring machine (TBM) named Wugeisha EXPO 2020. The boring was completed in July 2018.

Construction works related to viaducts were completed by November 2018 while the rail works were completed by mid-2019. Testing of the metro began in early 2020.

Contractors involved

Expolink, a consortium led by Alstom, including Acciona and Gulermack, was awarded the construction contract for the Route 2020 project. Alstom is supplying the rolling stock and also perform electromechanical works related to the project while Acciona and Gulermack are responsible for the civil works.

Thales Group supplied signalling technology for the driverless trains and is responsible for supervising the train movements. It also supplied security systems and ticketing systems for the metro line.

Parsons and Systra joint venture (JV) provided engineering and project management consultancy services. The JV is also responsible for infrastructure design and construction supervision.

WestonWilliamson+Partners (WW+P) and CH2M designed the six new stations and the Expo 2020 wing-shaped station.

Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) awarded  a contract to Serco Group for the operation and maintenance of the Dubai Metro until September 2021.  Serco is also responsible to handle the operation and maintenance of the Route 2020.

Future plans

The line is anticipated to be further extended by 6km to connect the Al Maktoum International Airport in the future.

The further extension would provide a direct connection between both the international airports of Dubai.