ABU DHABI, 14th May, 2016 (WAM)–Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s US$11 billion national rail network, hosted the 7th meeting of the GCC Railway Expert Working Group in a three-day event held in the UAE capital from 10-12 May 2016.

The meeting brought together members of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), railway companies from the six GCC member states and high-profile delegates from relevant transport authorities and ministries.

Created to foster dialogue on the railway agenda across the six member states, the GCC Railway Expert Working Group meeting addressed the ongoing technical, operational, institutional and commercial considerations that will ensure the implementation of a state-of-the-art railway network.

Participating authorities and ministries envision a railway infrastructure complete with signal systems, cross-functional industry knowledge-sharing between national operational control centres, a fully integrated approach to safety and security, certification of railway employees, as well as cost and revenue sharing agreements between railway operators and stakeholders across the GCC.

“Etihad Rail is pleased to host this edition of the GCC Railway Expert Working Group, as we collectively review progressive technical and operational ways to outline the next steps for a shared rail network that will act as a catalyst for socioeconomic growth across the region,” said Eng. Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, CEO of Etihad Rail.

During his opening speech, Dr. Abdulla Al Katheeri, Director General – FTA & ER Board Member, echoed Etihad Rail’s commitment to close collaboration with partners and stakeholders to ensure the completion of the UAE’s national railway, and highlighted the significance of the three-day assembly, which focussed on the detailed engineering, design and technical guidelines that will foster progress toward project completion.

When complete, the GCC railway network will link member states Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.