THE RAIL Agency of the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority has announced that tunnelling work on the first section of the city's metro was completed on schedule on January 6.

Excavation was undertaken in three stages. The first, which began on January 31 2007 and lasted until September 15, involved boring underneath Dubai Creek between the sites of Union Square and Burjuman stations. Between April and August last year, a further tunnel was bored between Union Square and Al Rigga stations, with a final section from Al Rigga to Deira City Centre station commencing on October 7.

RTA officials have announced that test running on the system will begin in April along an 11 km section between Jebel Ali depot and Ibn Battuta station. The first of 87 trainsets are expected to arrive in Dubai from manufacturer Kinki Sharyo's works in Osaka in March.

The first section of the 52·1 km east-west Red Line from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali is expected to open in September 2009. This will be followed in 2010 by the ?17·6 km Green Line between Dubai Airport Free Zone and Healthcare City.

TÜV Rheinland is preparing legislation on behalf of the RTA setting out a legal structure for metro operations and future rail transport development. 'We are in the process of comparing laws, statutory regulations and standards from Hong Kong, Singapore, Berlin, Købenvhavn and London' said Senior Project Manager Dr Rolf-Martin Müller. The best elements of each will be combined in draft laws to be submitted to the Emir in April.