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Etihad Rail signs $327m deal for passenger trains with Spain’s CAF

Etihad Rail has signed an agreement worth Dh1.2 billion ($327 million) with Spain’s CAF for designing, manufacturing, supplying, and maintaining passenger trains for the UAE’s new rail network.

The agreement was signed in the Sakamkam area, where the first passenger train station will be built in the heart of Fujairah city.

CAF will design, manufacture, supply, and provide maintenance for passenger trains as per the European standards, a statement from Abu Dhabi Government Media Office said.

Each train will have a seating capacity of more than 400 and will reach speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour.

“Etihad Rail will benefit from CAF’s long-standing experience for more than 100 years, in providing advanced solutions for improving the rail commuter’s experience and providing passengers with high levels of safety, efficiency and quality,” the statement said.

The agreement was signed by Shadi Malak, chief executive of Etihad Rail, and Josu Imaz, chief executive, rolling stock, at CAF, and in the presence of Iñigo de Palacio, ambassador of Spain to the UAE.

The transport initiative is rapidly taking shape, with construction of the railway line between Abu Dhabi and Dubai completed in March.

Etihad Rail’s trains will connect 11 cities and regions in the UAE, from Al Sila to Fujairah, including Al Ruwais, Al Mirfa, Dubai, Sharjah, Al Dhaid, and Abu Dhabi.

The 1,200-kilometre line is set to reduce commute time by 30-40 per cent compared with other modes of transport.

Travelling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and from Dubai to Fujairah, will take only 50 minutes, while Abu Dhabi to Al Ruwais will take 70 minutes, and Abu Dhabi to Fujairah 100 minutes.

“The trains will be equipped with modern amenities, including infotainment systems, charging stations, and more, along with food and beverages, and ample legroom, in addition to an advanced air-conditioning system, to meet the needs of all citizens, residents, and visitors,” the media office statement said.

There will also be different seating segments, including first class, business class, and economy.

Earlier this year, The National was given exclusive access to the first images of what the UAE’s new passenger trains will look like.

Artist’s impressions show silver and grey carriages emblazoned with the red Etihad Rail logo set against the backdrop of the UAE’s cities, mountains and deserts.

A launch date for the passenger service has not yet been announced.

Etihad Rail also recently signed three MoUs with Spain’s national railway operator Renfe, and the British companies High Speed 1 and GB Railfreight. These are to enhance co-operation and the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and the best practices in freight and passenger rail services and rail operations.

In February, Etihad Rail signed a Dh1.99bn deal with First Abu Dhabi Bank to finance passenger railway transport services.

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