Etihad Rail hands over control centre to operator

Handover to joint venture with German operator marks key milestone in Stage One of programme, says CEO Faris Saif Al Mazrouei

Shadi Malik of Etihad Rail DB and Etihad Rail CEO Faris Saif Al Mazrouei at the handover
Shadi Malik of Etihad Rail DB and Etihad Rail CEO Faris Saif Al Mazrouei at the handover

Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network, has officially handed over control of the Operation Control Centre (OCC) in Mirfa to Etihad Rail DB.

Etihad Rail DB, the joint venture company formed between Etihad Rail and the German DB Schenker in March 2014, will manage the operation and maintenance of the first stage of the UAE’s national railway network onsite from the control centre in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

DB Schenker is part of Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s biggest company in the field of railway operations, which operates the 33,000-kilometre German freight and passenger rail network.

Etihad Rail CEO Faris Saif Al Mazrouei led the handover ceremony, which represents a key milestone in the operation of the first stage of the UAE’s national railway network.

“The OCC is at the core of the railway network,” he said. “The qualified staff members working in the OCC are responsible for the overall control and command of the system, including all train movements, and this move is an important step forward for the project."

Also attending the ceremony was Shadi Malak, Acting CEO of Etihad Rail DB, who added: "Knowledge transfer is a key priority in our Emiratisation strategy and we will ensure that the OCC becomes a training center and pave the way for Emiratis to become the UAE’s leading railway professionals.”

Construction of Stage One of the railway network, which will transport more than seven million tons of granulated sulphur annually for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), has been completed and trains are currently running in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi on a trial basis.

However, contractors who bid to build civil packages for stage two of the network, which will see trains connect between the UAE border, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai, are still waiting for announcements on who has been awarded contracts. Bids were submitted in mid-2012.

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