The UAE is constructing a rail link with Saudi that is set to be launched by the end of December 2021. The rail network costs around $200 billion-plus and will be 2,117km long and is going to be a cargo-passenger line which is expected to revolutionize the region.
The passenger and cargo network will connect the six GCC states and was initially expected to be finished in 2018, but was pushed back to 2021 in the aftermath of the oil price increase. The UAE suspended the construction of its portion of the network in 2016, while Oman said it would shift its focus to building its domestic network.
Abdullah Salem Al Kathiri, Director General of the Federal Authority for Land and Marine Transport, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “By the end of December 2021 we will have a connection between us and the Saudis.” He continued, “We will have the connection between us and Saudi Arabia. Between Saudi Arabia and Oman hopefully will be achieved by that date.”
His comments came just days after the UAE’s Etihad Rail was reportedly set to issue tenders for phase 2 of its country-wide rail network project. Phase 2 of the project will connect the UAE’s seaports and the project’s first phase. It was announced that phase 1 achieved 94 percent punctuality during its commercial operations and hit 100 percent in January 2018.