Dh2bn Funds: Passenger train coming alive in UAE

Eudore R. Chand


Etihad Rail, FAB sign Dh1.99 billion finance pact for passenger services valued

ABU DHABI 25 February 2022: A Dh1.99 billion agreement between Etihad Rail and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) for financing railway passenger transport services, was signed yesterday.

The agreement comes as part of the UAE National Railways Programme, the largest land transport system of its kind in the UAE, where First Abu Dhabi Bank will be the Certified Lead Arranger for the loan, as part of the agreement.

With the launch of the railway passenger services, the passenger trains will strengthen connectivity between the UAE by connecting 11 cities and locations in the country from Al Sila to Fujairah. Travelling at a speed of 200km per hour, with a capacity of 400 passengers per train, the number of passengers is expected to increase to reach more than 36.5 million passengers annually across the country by 2030. Passengers will be able to commute between Abu Dhabi to Dubai in only 50 minutes, between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah in only 100 minutes, between Dubai and Fujairah in only 50 minutes, and between Abu Dhabi and Al Ruwais in only 70 minutes.

Etihad Rail is forging ahead towards completing Stage Two of the UAE National Rail Network. Stage One of the Network has been operational since 2016. The project is progressing at an accelerated pace with 70 percent of the project being completed in less than 24 months, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Etihad Rail has cooperated with 180 entities and issued more than 40 thousand official papers.

The project involves more than 27,000 experts, specialists, and workers operating at more than 3,000 construction sites across the UAE, putting in 76 million work hours so far using more than 6,000 vehicles and pieces of equipment.

UAE National Railways Programme

“Through this agreement with First Abu Dhabi Bank, we at Etihad Rail look forward to enhancing cooperation, uniting efforts, and working together towards realising the vision of the UAE in accordance with the goals of the UAE National Railways Programme, which was launched under the Projects of the 50 to establish the basis for a new stage of sustainable economic growth for the country,” said H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Saif bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, Vice-Chairman of FAB’s Board of Directors, as well as Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Jassim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance; Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Board Member of Etihad Rail and Director-General and Chairman of Dubai Roads and Transport Authority; as well as members of Etihad Rail’s Board of Directors, the Board of Directors of FAB, and a number of officials from the Ministry of Finance and The Department of Finance in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement was signed by Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, and Hana Al Rostamani, Group Chief Executive Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Etihad Rail’s passenger services will be the first of its kind, connecting the cities and regions of the UAE. The project is one of the three strategic projects of the National Railways Programme, which was launched by the UAE government in December 2021. The programme forms the largest land transport system in the UAE, which is set to outline the future of the railway sector in the coming years, in addition to providing freight rail and integrated transportation services.


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