The UAE unveiled its highly anticipated passenger trains with the inaugural rail journey between Abu Dhabi city and the Al Dhannah region. The journey covered the Abu Dhabi-Al Dhannah route, spanning 250km west of Abu Dhabi.
Al Dhannah, housing 29,000 residents, is a rural desert town transformed since the 1970s to accommodate Adnoc's industrial staff. The rail service, part of the Etihad Rail and Adnoc agreement, aims to connect 11 cities from Al Sila to Fujairah, with trains reaching speeds of up to 200 kmph and reducing commute times by 30–40%.
Although the launch date is pending, the passenger train network is expected to serve more than 36.5 million passengers annually by 2030.
The first rail journey featured Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Adnoc's executive leadership team aboard a swanky 4-bogey passenger train. The specific launch date for the rail service connecting Abu Dhabi to Al Dhannah remains under development.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia and Italian luxury hospitality company Arsenale announced a partnership to introduce a luxury train service named 'Dream of the Desert.'
This luxury train experience, planned in collaboration with Etihad Rail, will operate in the UAE, covering destinations like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah, extending to the wider GCC once the Gulf-wide railway is operational. The luxurious train, with 15 carriages, promises breathtaking views of the mountains bordering Oman and the renowned Liwa desert oasis.
While the national rail network, Etihad Rail, was completed in February last year, the UAE initiated the operation of freight trains, equipped with a fleet of 38 locomotives and over 1,000 wagons. Since 2016, a 264-km route has been operational for transporting granulated sulfur.
The extensive 900km Etihad Rail network connects major trade, industry, manufacturing, logistics, and population centers across the UAE, forming an integral part of the planned Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway network.