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GCC Rail Network to link all Gulf States by 2018

Completion of the GCC rail network by 2018 will not only bring prosperity to UAE, but also to the five GCC neighbours, as rail lines are being constructed across the nations, said Etihad Rail.

The UAE railway network will link with industrial areas, ports, major population centres and will be built in three phases, the first of which will be 266km long western stretch between Al Ruwais and Shah. The Shah-Habshan-Ruwais freight line will be built on collaboration with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

The GCC rail network, stretching 2177km will link all six Gulf states by rail for the first time, offering an alternative to air or sea travel for both goods and passengers in the region. It will be fully operational by the year 2018, said Dr. Ramiz Al Assar, World Bank Resident Adviser of GCC Secretariat General in Riyadh.

The designs of the $200bn (Dh.734bn) network will run down the Gulf coast from Kuwait through Saudi Arabia, to the UAE and Oman which links Bahrain and Qatar. It will be completed by the year-end or first quarter of next year. Construction on the network will begin in 2014 and it will be fully operational by 2018, Dr. Al Assar said.

Abu Dhabi is leading the GCC rail network with Dh.40bn Etihad Rail project. The 1200km line which will be completed in 2018, will link all major industrial zones, cities and ports in the UAE and will eventually connect with GCC railway.

The second phase of the project will link Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while also connecting to Jebel Ali Port, Mussaffah and Khalifa Port. The third phase will link the northern emirates. The second phase will be ready by 2016 and third phase by 2017. The Etihad Rail network will also link the GCC network, and when fully established will cover Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and UAE.

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