March 25 - Union Railway, the company behind UAE's rail development, has unveiled its new corporate identity and announced important updates on the implementation phases of the UAE's railway network. It will now be known as Etihad Rail.

As reported by HLPFI on March 7, in what could be a major fillip for the region's project cargo business, Etihad Railhas issued to pre-qualified companies a number of tenders for the rolling stock of the railway in the Western Region.

A route linking Habshan to Ruwais is due to be completed in early 2013 and to Shah by the end of 2014, while Etihad Rail is set to finalise designs for the second and third phases of the project by end of this year and construction to begin during second half of 2012.

The Etihad Rail network is expected to extend up to 1,200 km in length, connecting the Emirates and linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia (via Ghweifat) in the west and to Oman (via Al Ain) in the east. It will form a vital part of the greaterGCC railway network - facilitating trade, opening up communication channels, and fostering economic and infrastructure development.