(Bloomberg) -- Etihad Rail, which is developing a $14 billion project to connect the sheikdoms of the United Arab Emirates, has linked up two of main business hubs with a direct train link.

“The economic effects of linking Abu Dhabi and Dubai via the UAE National Rail Network will extend for many years,” Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, the country’s finance minister and deputy ruler of Dubai, said in a statement. 

The network linking the UAE’s seven emirates is expected to create economic opportunities of 200 billion dirhams ($55 billion), it said.

Etihad Rail, which will provide both freight and passenger services when complete, is proposed to extend from the border of Saudi Arabia to Oman and eventually link up with a planned network across the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

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