The workshop discussed key aspects of railway standards including management of standards, railway operations, railway infrastructure, and railway systems, for both heavy rail and light rail systems. The NTA has created a complete set of standards covering the entire spectrum of the railway industry from planning, design, operation and maintenance. Notable standard include business case standard for initiating and developing a new railway projects in the UAE. The UAE is the first country in the region to develop its own national railway standards and customize them to suit the UAE distinctive environment in terms of heat, humidity, sand storms and hostile desert environment.
HE Dr. Nasser Saif AL Mansoori, Director General of the NTA stated that “we are very grateful for the leadership of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mobarak AL Nahyan, the NTA chairman in his unswerving support to the creation and nurturing of the new railway industry in the UAE. The railway standards are essential building blocks for the industry, and will provide support to the industry participants as well as the railway supply chain”. There are 41 railway national standards which will be available from the NTA offices once the final reviews and incorporation of stakeholders’ comments is completed. It is anticipated that the standards will be ready for use by the railway industry participants in the next few months. The standards will be live documents and will be managed and controlled by the NTA.
The one day event marked the occasion to discuss a number of important issues: harmonization of railway standards across the UAE, coordination with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, link up with international railway institutions, the benefits of having national rail standards, or critical issues such as safety and interoperability.
The region faces major challenges ahead with the rapid construction of the GCC railway main line, therefore, putting the national railway standards first is essential to provide clarity and consistency and avoid variances of practice.
HE Abdulla Salem Al Katheeri, Executive Director of the NTA Land Transport Sector stated that "to see so many stakeholders coming to the NTA railway standards workshop indicates the keen interest shown by our strategic stakeholders. We are grateful for their support, helpful comments and feedback. I consider this workshop to be a success as it brought together the key players in the railway industry, to meet the NTA consultants and experts and to debate key issues affecting the railway standards and stakeholders’ comments and suggestions in an open and transparent way so that we could bring high quality standards to our country. I am grateful for the leadership, encouragement and support we receive from H.E Dr. Nasser AL Mansoori for making the railway standards project a success”
Key benefit of railway standards is achieving a consistent approach to the planning and design of railway systems, encouraging competition and informing the railway supply chain of the industry’s needs. The new railway standards will not be retrospective, but will apply to all new rail and guided transport systems in the UAE.