UAE to invite rail prequalification in Q2

13 February 2024
Etihad Rail will develop a high-speed rail line connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai


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Etihad Rail is anticipated to launch the prequalification process for the UAE’s high-speed rail line connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai by the end of Q2 2024.

The high-speed rail project is expected to reduce journey times between the UAE’s two largest cities.

Earlier this month, MEED reported that Etihad Rail is preparing to start construction work on the UAE’s high-speed rail project after having asked contractors to express interest in the early works for the line.

The early works for the network will involve clearing and preparing sites in preparation for construction work. This typically includes earthmoving and the diversion of existing infrastructure or utilities in the area. 

The preliminary site testing works are under way. Dubai-based Matcon Testing Laboratory and Abu Dhabi’s Engineering & Research International are conducting drilling tests to ascertain the ground conditions in areas through which the high-speed rail line will pass. One of the areas where testing is being carried out is the Jaddaf area of Dubai. 

Spanish engineering firms Sener and Ineco are the engineering consultants for the project.

This project is separate from the Etihad Rail passenger service, which will travel at 200 kilometres an hour (km/h) and will use the same network as the UAE’s freight rail network, for which construction work is nearing completion. 

AED50bn rail links

Etihad Rail has previously conducted feasibility studies for high-speed rail links in the UAE.

In late 2021, the UAE launched a AED50bn ($13.6bn) programme to establish an integrated cargo and passenger transport system across the country. 

The programme comprises three projects, the first of which is the freight rail component.

The second project, covering passenger services, aims to connect 11 cities within the UAE from Al Sila to Fujairah. The passenger transport scheme will have a speed of 200km/h and aims to reduce travel times between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to 50 minutes and between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah to 100 minutes.

More than 36.5 million passengers are expected to use the system by 2030.

The third project in the programme, which covers integrated transport services, involves establishing an innovation centre to incorporate smart transportation solutions into the overall plan. A light rail network will be linked to the rail passenger system to facilitate transportation within UAE cities.

These projects will add to existing and under-construction elements of the network.

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