Slowdown probable on Etihad Rail development

UAE’s rail network might be paused as GCC’s rail network is brought up to speed

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Work on the Etihad Rail network might be slowed down in the near future.

While addressing the media recently at the Ministry of Public Works’ headquarters in Dubai, minister of public works and chairman of the National Transport Authority (NTA), HE Dr Abdulla Behaif Al Nuaimi said the planned unified GCC rail is currently unsynchronised, as each member country has achieved only varying levels of their completion targets.

“We had hoped the GCC network would be up and running by 2018,” said Dr. Al Nuaimi. “However, at a meeting last year, we realised that some GCC members will possibly face delays in completion of their rail networks.

“The concern for us, then, was whether to hold-off our development activities based on theirs,” he added.

While Saudi Arabia and UAE are well-poised to meet their due date of 2018, countries such as Kuwait and Bahrain have faced logistical errors, leading the construction industry to question their capacity to deliver the rail networks on time.

“I think we should look into their programmes and integrate them with ours – we can’t finish our share and wait for the others to complete,” expressed Dr. Al Nuaimi.

“We also discussed the possibility of the partial operation of the network if there is a delay in the entire operations. We feel there are some operations we should undertake by ourselves (i.e; UAE’s independently) – for example, the development of Phase 1 in the West Coast.”

While Dr. Nuaimi refused to divulge any details about the commencement of operations on Phase 1 of Etihad Rail, he informed that the plans for a regulatory law for the rail industry was well on-track towards approval.

“I can reveal we have created the first draft of the law, with a specialised team now working on amending it for better implementation.

“We will send it to the Cabinet for approval soon, and are hoping for developments on it by March 2014,” he added.


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