UAE passengers to wait until 2020 for national rail network


By Alexander Cornwell, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Rail passengers will be waiting until at least 2020 to travel on the UAE’s national rail network — two years after it is to be completed in 2018, the country’s regulators said on Tuesday.

The UAE is building a 1,200-kilometre rail network connecting all seven emirates and the country with Saudi Arabia and Oman.

“We will try to make it ready [for passengers] by Expo 2020,” Federal Transport Authority Director General Salem Ali Al Zaabi told reporters at a regional rail conference in Dubai.

In March 2015, the UAE Minister of Public Works Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi said transport freight was the priority for rail in the country.

The national rail network is part of a wider Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rail that will connect all six Arab Gulf states; Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

The GCC states previously agreed to connect their rail networks by 2018 but this is now widely perceived as impossible. Most countries have not yet started construction and there are concerns weak oil prices could be affecting the ability of some regional governments to fund major projects. More info