The first public railway in the United Arab Emirates was a section of the Dubai Metro opened in 2009. The Metro has since been extended and a monorail added; further extensions are proposed, as are trams and a metro for Abu Dhabi.
The first long distance railway is a 264km, standard (1435mm) gauge freight line from the Shah industrial complex to Habshan and the port of Ruwais, opened in 2014.
In 2021, construction was completed on a 139km extension from Ruwais to Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia, where it will eventually connect with the Saudi rail network.
In 2022, construction was completed on eastward extensions: 216 km from the main line railway at Liwa to Dubai Industrial City, with a branch to Khalifa Port; 94km from Dubai Industrial City to the border of Sharjah, with a branch to Jebel Ali Port; and a 51km continuation of this line through the Emirates of Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah. A further 94km to the port of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman is under construction.
Also in 2022, an agreement was signed with the government of Oman for the construction of a 303km railway connecting the Etihad network at Fujairah with the port of Sohar, Oman.
All lines are at present freight only, passenger services are planned for the future.
© 2004-2022 Glyn Williams
Photo image supplied by Etihad Rail