SPEAKING at the Mena Rail conference at the Dubai World Trade Centre on December 9, Dr Abdelqader O Elshabani, Technical Co-ordinator for the Dubai Rail Project in Dubai Municipality’s Planning & Survey Department, confirmed that the planned urban rail network will use driverless technology with platform screen doors. Trains would include a first class section to cater for high-income residents, and special provision would be made for women and children.

Supporting the decision to use driverless trains, Project Manager at Systra for the Dubai rail project Michel Plagnol told delegates that there are now ’more than 200 km’ of driverless metro lines in service around the world, adding ’that there are now absolutely no reasons to go for manually-driven systems’.

Nasser Ahmed Saeed, General Co-ordinator for the Dubai Rail Project in the Roads Department of Dubai Municipality, said that consultants are now working on ’a 30% design study’ and that he expected tenders to be called in May or June 2004. With two lines forming a 69·2 km network likely to open in 2008 at the earliest, he predicted that there would be 355 million boardings at the 55 planned stations in 2017. A fleet of 99 five-car trainsets is planned.