Spain’s Caf Group has been awarded a AED1.2bn ($327m) contract to provide passenger trains for the UAE’s Etihad Rail.
Caf will design, manufacture, supply, and provide maintenance for the passenger trains. Each train will have a seating capacity of over 400 passengers and will travel at speeds of up to 200 kilometres/hour.
The passenger train service will connect 11 cities and regions in the UAE from Al-Sila in the west to Fujairah in the east. Stations include Al-Ruwais, Al-Mirfa, Dubai, Sharjah, Al-Dhaid, and Abu Dhabi. Etihad Rail says the trains will reduce commuting times by 30-40 per cent compared to other modes of transport.
In May, Etihad Rail signed three memorandums of understanding with Spain’s national railway operator Renfe, and the UK-based companies High Speed 1 and GB Railfreight, to enhance cooperation and the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and the best practices in freight and passenger rail services and rail operations.
In February, Etihad Rail signed an agreement with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) for financing the railway passenger transport services, with a total value of AED1.99bn as part of the UAE National Railways Programme. First Abu Dhabi Bank will be the Certified Lead Arranger for the loan, as part of the agreement.
The Etihad Rail award is Caf's latest order from the region. In March this year, it secured a €200m ($219m) contract from Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) for the maintenance of the rail operator’s train fleet.
The agreement includes performing maintenance work in partnership with SAR on the trains Caf has supplied in recent years, for a term of five years.
Caf trains run on the North-South line, which connects Riyadh to Qurayyat on the Jordanian border. Caf units also run on the East-West line, which connects Riyadh to Dammam.
The agreement also covers the establishment of an Engineering Excellence Centre to train SAR staff, as well as a Digital Hub Centre.
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