The 2,177 km-long regional network is expected to be up and running by 2018, with the design of the project finalized and work beginning this year.

To create a marvelous customer experience and to ease the travel journey of residents of the Gulf region, the National Transport Authority (NTA) of UAE, has recently introduced a rail-network project for expats and Emirati nationals, to promote easy traveling through railway. The first phase of the railway track titled ‘Etihad Rail Line’, which stretches 266km has been completed and freight services will begin very soon.

The much awaited railway service for passengers across the GCC, including the UAE, is expected to begin in 2018. The network will spread across the entire country from the Abu Dhabi-Saudi Arabia border to the Oman border, connecting all major cities, ports and industrial zones within the UAE. For best customer services and citizens convenience, people will be able travel on trains with just their national IDs, and an Emirates ID in case of UAE residents.

According to Dr. Abdullah Bel Haif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Public Works & Chairman of the NTA:

‘The new law will provide a legal framework for the operations of railway in the country and will deal with every aspect, including passenger transport, fares, freights, border crossing as well as passport-free travel.’

Furthermore, a two-day Middle East Rail Conference will be held on February 4-5, 2014, to give international experts and citizens an insight about the new railway project, as well as, giving an opportunity to 125 companies from 60 countries to showcase their products.