Egypt announces $3.1bn railways revamp plan

10 Apr 2018

Egypt is set to invest a total of E£55 billion ($3.1 billion) for the revamp of the national railway network over the next five years, including addition of 1,000 new train cars, reported Al Ahram Arabic news website, citing the country's transport minister.

Last year, President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi had highlighted the need for upgradation of the railway network to prevent deadly accidents, stating that the system needs E£180 billion ($10 billion) to be modernised, stated the report.

His comments cames shortly after an August train disaster in Alexandria that killed 41 people and injured some 179, reported Al Ahram.

Hisham Arafat said Egypt has a clear and comprehensive plan to develop all aspects of the railway system, whether in infrastructure, tractors, train carriages and signals.

Egypt has signed deals with US company General Electric for the supply of 100 tractors and the refurbishing of 81 others, as well as access to funding for another 100 tractors, said Arafat during a surprise visit to Giza railway station on the Sham El Neseem holiday.

'We have also signed deals for 1,300 passenger carriages and 300 others for cargo,' he stated, emphasising that citizens will see an upgrade in the ailing system next year.

The minister's statements come nearly a month after Egypt's parliament finally approved several government-drafted amendments to the 1980 law that regulates the performance of the debt-laden Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA), with a view to rescuing the vital railways sector.

Egypt's railway system has a poor safety record, with frequent deadly collisions often blamed on lack of maintenance and poor management, said the report.

Last February, 12 people were killed when a passenger train collided with a cargo train in the northern governorate of Beheira.

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