Etihad Rail, which is developing a new 1,200km rail network in the UAE, has taken delivery of its first batch of railway wagons from China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock (CSR).
The wagons will be used on the 264km first phase of the line, linking Shah and Habshan to Ruwais in the western region of the country to transport 22,000t of granulated sulphur per day.
Etihad Rail CEO Dr. Nasser Saif Al-Mansoori said the arrival of the wagons is an indicator of the rapid progress being made on the strategic national project.
"Construction activity for the first stage of the rail project, which is being developed in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, is far along and we are on track to see the first trains run from Habshan to Ruwais within a year using these wagons," Al-Mansoori said.
"The rail project will change the face of transportation in the UAE, playing a significant role in building a sustainable economy by promoting growth in various business sectors, providing jobs for the local workforce, and contributing to environmental preservation, since one fully loaded train produces 70-80% less CO2 emissions than that of the trucks required to transport the same tonnage."
The new rail wagons will be hatch-covered to maintain complete purity of the sulphur, and will be transported by a fleet of seven EMD diesel-electric locomotives, which will be delivered to Etihad Rail in the first quarter of 2013.
In 2011, Etihad Rail contracted CSR to supply 240 covered wagons for the transport of sulphur and Electro-Motive Diesel to supply seven heavy haul freight locomotives.
Etihad Rail is currently tendering the 628km second stage of the rail project, which will connect Mussafah Port to Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port.
Stage three of the line will span 279km and will connect the rest of the Northern Emirates; the fully-completed line will be used for both freight and passengers.
The 1,200km UAE rail network will be part of the GCC Railway Network, linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman through Al Ain in the east.