Etihad Rail Completes Excavation of the GCC’s Longest Rail Tunnel as Part of Development of UAE National Rail Network
Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE National Rail Network, has completed the longest tunnel in the Gulf Region. Running for 1.8 km, the tunnel is part of Package D on Stage Two. Package D runs for 145 km from Dubai and Sharjah, through the Al Hajar Mountains, toward the emirate of Fujairah. The package includes the construction of nine tunnels through the mountains at a cumulative length of 6.9 kilometres, and additionally includes 54 bridges and 20 animal crossings.
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The achievement is an significant step for the project’s development in 2021. The route passes through some of the most complex topographical areas in the construction of the network. In total, the completion of the tunnel contributes to ensuring development continues on an accelerated schedule.
All tunnel excavation operations were implemented in line with international best safety practice. Teams ensured that all construction was carried out safely, given the mountainous terrain surrounding the site. Tunnel excavation required 300,000 working hours to complete, with over half a million tonnes of stone being removed during excavation.
The UAE National Rail Network is being constructed on schedule. Track laying recently commenced at Saih Shuaib, the rail head for track running toward Abu Dhabi and Dubai as part of Stage Two. The overall track on Stage Two will run from Ghuweifat on the border of Saudi Arabia to the emirate of Fujairah on the UAE’s eastern seaboard. At the beginning of 2021, track laying began in the Al Dhafra region toward the UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia.
Etihad Rail was established in June 2009 under Federal Law no. 2, with a mandate to manage the development, construction and operation of the UAE’s national freight and passenger railway network.
The railway network will be built in phases to link the principal centres of population and industry of the UAE, as well as to form a vital part of the planned GCC railway network linking the six countries of the GCC: The Kingdom of Bahrain, The State of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE.Built to international standards, Etihad Rail’s state-of-the-art network will act as a catalyst for economic growth and sustained social development. Once complete, the railway will redefine logistics and transport in the region; thus providing a modern, safe, efficient and sustainable network which will connect the UAE and its regions to its neighbouring GCC countries.