Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network, said it has signed a strategic agreement with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
The agreement will focus on co-operation in securing railway alignments, station locations and defining the contractual and operational responsibilities for both parties, said Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, the chairman of Etihad Rail after signing the deal with Mattar Al Tayer, the board chairman and executive director of RTA.
“We are delighted to co-operate with the RTA and sign this agreement which will assist Etihad Rail in developing the national rail network of the UAE on time,” said Alsowaidi.
“In the past five years, Etihad Rail has managed to lay well-established foundations for its operations. Strengthening communication channels with other government entities will guarantee the efficient development of this important project, which will transform the transport industry across the UAE and drive our nation’s future growth,” he added.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network will span 1,200 km across the UAE, transporting both freight and passengers. It will connect urban and peripheral communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development across all emirates in the UAE.
The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway network, linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia through Ghweifat in the west and Oman through Al Ain in the east.
As part of the agreement, RTA will assign representatives to co-ordinate issuing no-objection certificates (NOCs) for any road works required by Etihad Rail in line with the timeline and framework agreed by both parties, said Al Tayer.
Etihad Rail will report on any modifications to the railway alignment or the surrounding areas, particularly on any operational issues. The organisation will also commit to defining the widths of the railway in a manner that guarantees maximum operational efficiency, and to cooperate with RTA on health and safety related matters under Dubai standards.
“Etihad Rail will constitute an essential part of the UAE’s future transport infrastructure, and this agreement marks an important step in realising this goal.” stated Al Tayer.
“It will provide a safe and efficient means of transport that will increase the number of public transport users in the UAE, contributing to significant economic and social benefits, and we are glad to support this vital project,” he added.