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UAE plans $ 8 bn rail network

world Updated: Dec 14, 2009 13:02 IST

In a bid to link the seven emirates and bring their various industrial clusters into one grid, the UAE's Union Railway will construct a 1,300km network estimated at $ 8.16 billion spanning the entire region.

The Union Railway expects to award its first construction contracts by the end of next year, media reports have said.

The 30 billion dirham ($ 8.16 billion) rail network could be in operation by 2014.

The state-backed firm's new chief executive, Richard Bowker said, "In the early part of 2010 we will begin engagement with the market and suppliers, and by the end of 2010 we will be placing a contract."

"The firm's current work centres on geotechnical assessments, market analysis and issues such as whether it will be able to operate double-stacked trains, which have more capacity and are the company's current preference.

The capacity is potentially very high because we are building from scratch and are not constrained by any legacies.

Elsewhere trains are bound by dimensions of bridges and tunnels, some built a long time ago," Bowker was quoted as saying by The National newspaper.

The main impetus for the project is the need to deliver crushed rock, granulated sulphur, steel and aluminium between the country's industrial clusters and its ports for export, he said.