Etihad Rail – the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Railway Company (SAR) that will enhance collaboration and coordination for the rail industry among GCC members.

Signed by Eng. Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, Acting CEO of Etihad Rail and SAR’s CEO Dr. Rumaih bin Muhammad Al Rumaih, the MoU seeks to introduce common solutions, leverage best practice and allow for the free exchange of ideas and knowledge to improve the safety, efficiency, and economy of both countries’ railways networks.

The agreement will serve as a partnership between both parties and will enhance the relationship and long-term collaboration that will ultimately promote and lead to the successful economic development of the railway industry in the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Committees including representatives from both parties will be created and collaborative meetings, seminars, and workshops will be held on a regular basis.

Commenting on the MoU, Eng. Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, Acting CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “We are proud to announce this important MoU with SAR. We already work closely with our GCC neighbours in an effort to ensure that technical standards and technology for the railway network in the GCC are consistent, and this agreement will pave the way for greater cooperation, coordination, and the exchange of knowledge with SAR.”

“We can greatly benefit from Saudi Arabia’s pioneering experience, particularly given that both Etihad Rail and SAR share common goals and aim to leverage the latest technology and the highest standards of safety, and to provide the most sustainable services in the transportation field.“

Al Mazrouei added, “Work on the UAE’s national railway is progressing on schedule, and Etihad Rail believes that forming strong relationships with stakeholders of all railway projects in the GCC will further contribute to the success of the operation of the rail, as well as provide a secure link between the UAE and its neighbours. We are pleased that the completion of Stage One of Etihad Rail also represents the completion of the first stage of the main GCC line.”

Commenting on the MoU, Dr. Rumaih bin Mohammad Al Rumaih, CEO of SAR, said: “Establishing such relation and cooperation with Etihad Rail will improve both of projects executional mechanism and operations efficiency, in the future, not only for Saudi Arabia and UAE but the whole GCC countries. This will contribute to creating an attractive market environment for rail and open doors to compete with other means of transportation, especially for freight and heavy haul. He stated also, that SAR had built, through the last eight years, an extensive experience in both of railway projects and operations that our partners across the GCC can benefit from. The scale of the whole Saudi railway networks, between cities, is more than 7200 kilometres. SAR is taking big portion of that by projects of more than 4500 kilometres.” SAR recently igned a contract with TQ Education and Training to operate Saudi Railway Polytechnic (SRP). TQ will deliver a range of rail industry related and internationally recognised vocational courses, that will provide Saudi nationals with transferable skills to ensure that the trainees reach a level where they are able to operate, manage, and maintain the railway, helping to create strong productive industries for the future of the Kingdom. The institute is providing training in areas such as Rail specific English language training, Health and Safety training, Rail Engineering, Signalling and Telecommunications, rolling stock maintenance, and train driver training. Dr. Rumaih, finally, indicated that Etihad Rail and other railway organizations in the GCC are welcome to benefit from SRP.

Etihad Rail works closely with key stakeholders throughout the UAE as well as the GCC members through the GCC Secretariat General with shared goals, aspirations, and business objectives to deliver the railway professionally, efficiently, and on schedule.

Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network, which will cater to both freight and passengers, will span approximately 1,200 kilometres across the Emirates. It will connect urban and peripheral communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development across all Emirates in the UAE. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway Network, linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.