UAE Etihad Rail awards locomotives contract to a US-based company

The United Arab Emirates’ national rail operator Etihad Rail has signed a contract to procure 38 locomotives from a US-based Progress Rail Locomotive, a Caterpillar company.

Etihad Rail became operational in 2016, and the company’s current fleet of seven locomotives will be expanded sixfold, bringing the total number of locomotives in 45.

Etihad Rail contracted Progress Rail, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of diesel-electric locomotives, to design, manufacture, test, and ship 38 EMD locomotives especially designed to withstand the high temperatures and humidity of the Gulf region.

The expansion will increase the network’s annual capacity to more than 60 million tonnes, compared to the current annual capacity of approximately 7.2 million tonnes.

H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed said the cutting-edge fleet of locomotives will raise the bar in the transportation system and logistics services in the country.

“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,” he said.

The locomotive fleet 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 operations while passing through desert areas throughout the country.

The locomotives feature powerful motors and will be supported by advanced emission reduction technology, reducing carbon emissions by 70-80 per cent and they are designed to haul a 100-wagon train, which can replace 5,600 on-road truck trips per day.

The agreement increases the fleet of Etihad Rail to 45 heavy 4,500 HP locomotives, which are among the most powerful locomotives in the region.

The signing of the contract follows the awarding of all civil works contracts for Stage Two of the national railway network, the launch of construction works of Package A of Stage Two, and the award of a contract to build a series of freight facilities for the rail network, underlining the company’s performance to complete one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country.