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Etihad Rail, the master developer and operator of the UAE's first railway network, formerly known as Union Railway, unveiled its new corporate identity and outlined its latest plans at a launch event in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE rail network will now be know as Etihad Rail which is represented by a new corpotare logo. Etihad Rail revealed its future plans for the nationwide railway project and its phases of implementation, and announced that its first route will be completed in 2013 to transport the first shipment of granulated sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais, to be exported abroad in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
The announcment was made by H.E. Nasser Al Sowaidi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Etihad Rail and H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, the company's Vice Chairman. The launch was attended by representatives of both the private and public sectors.
The Etihad Rail network is expected to extend up to 1,200km in length, connecting the Emirates and linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia (via Ghweifat) in the west and to Oman (via Al Ain) in the east.
H.E. Nasser Al Sowaidi stated in his presentation that the Etihad Rail network is one of the most significant national projects in the development of the UAE, as it looks to provide the country with a modern, safe, and integrated railway network. "The development of an integrated railway network," H.E. Al Sowaidi explained, "signifies the inception of a new chapter of transport in the UAE."
Mattar Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Etihad Rail, explained that the mixed-traffic railway network is set to be developed in three phases: Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. Phase 1 of the project incorporates the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais route – with the link between Habshan and Ruwais scheduled to be completed in the beginning of 2013 and that between Shah and Habshan by the end of 2014. The second stage of the project, or Phase 2, involves the construction of the remainder of the Abu Dhabi Emirate network and a connection to Dubai, covering vital areas such as Mussaffah and the Khalifa and Jebel Ali ports. The third and final phase entails the implementation of the rest of the network in the Northern Emirates.