The new fleet will be designed to withstand the high temperatures and humidity of the gulf region, and will be equipped with a state-of-the-art air filtration system that filters sand from the air intake and pulse cleaning systems, ensuring effective and efficient operation in desert areas.

The 3.35MW diesel locomotives feature emission reduction technology, which will reduce carbon emissions by 70% to 80%. The locomotives are designed to haul up to 100 wagons, replacing 5600 lorry trips a day.

The contract was signed by Mr Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Mr Ramzi Imad, Progress Rail’s regional director of international sales for North Africa and Middle East, in the presence of Etihad Rail chairman Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“In the year of ‘2020: Towards the next 50,’ we are moving forward in completing all the necessary components for this national project that contributes to the UAE’s progress and enhances the country’s prestigious global position,” Theyab bin Mohamed says. “The cutting-edge fleet of locomotives will raise the bar in the transport system and logistics services in the country and increase the network’s annual capacity to more than 60 million tonnes, compared with the current annual capacity of approximately 7.2 million tonnes.”

The contract follows the awarding of the civil works contracts for Stage 2 of the national railway network, the launch of construction works of Package A of Stage 2, and the award of a contract to build a series of freight facilities across the network.

The 264km Stage 1 opened in 2014 and transports granulated sulphur from Shah and Habshan to the export point at Ruwais. Stage 2 will link the UAE and Saudi Arabia from Fujairah Port to Ghuweifat through Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port.

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