Union Railway project gets ahead
The UAE Cabinet gave a green light today to the Union Railway Company to borrow Dh 4.7 billion from banks and international corporations to finance the construction of the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais Railway project. The train project will link remote areas of the country with urban areas through a safe and fast network, contributing to the development of all regions. It is expected to further boost the land transport and the national economy.
The Union Railway Company was initially set up with a capital of Dh1 billion.
Back in 2009, the Chairman of Union Railway Company, Hussain Jassem Al Nowais has commented to a Dubai-based newspaper that UAE government is fully able to find the financial credit for the vast railway project that was due to start in 2010. The project was initially expected to be completed in five to seven years time frame, with completion date set by the end of 2014. Construction was planned to progress in phases, the first in Abu Dhabi, with stations at Shah, Habshan and Al Rowais.
According to preliminary studies the length of the Union Railway will reach 1,100km and will link Ghuwaifat centre on the border with Saudi Arabia in the west, with the border point with Oman in the east. Increase in the length will depend on the need to link more economic and development areas of the UAE, especially Zayed City and Liwa in Abu Dhabi, with the rest of the areas covered by the train.
As of now, a completion date sometime in 2017 is still achievable, but it is very much likely the Union Railway to be delayed, given the size and the importance of the project.
Total cost initially was estimated to be no less than Dh30 billion, but this figure now seems largely variable due to the changes in the economic conditions.
The UAE Union Railway project undoubtedly will become part of the Gulf train, which is an important project of the Gulf Co-operation Council. Efficient co-ordination between the UAE and other GCC member-states in this respect was already established few years ago.
According to media reports, the Gulf train linking the six member-states would cost between $20bn (Dh73.4bn) and $25 billion.