Egypt has purchased a new 6.8 million euro railway track inspection vehicle as part of efforts to enhance the safety of an outdated railway system dogged by frequent accidents, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported.
The track recording and inspection vehicle EM100U, made by Austrian track maintenance machine manufacturer Plasser Australia, measures, records and analyses defects in tracks and rails at a speed of 110 km/h.
The technology includes a video recording system that offers images of the rails and track components as well as a rail flaw detection system that allows ultrasound testing of the rails. It also offers track substructure measurements through ground-penetrating radar.
The vehicle is expected for delivery within a year, Egypt's Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat said on Tuesday.
It will be replacing the 40-year-old inspection equipment used by Egypt's railway authority and aims to improve the network's safety standards, Arafat said during the signing of the sale contract with the Austrian company.
The deal includes providing spare parts and maintenance for five years.
Egypt's railway network is notorious for its poor safety record, mostly blamed on a lack of maintenance, manually-operated systems and poor management. Successive governments have failed to enforce basic safety measures for the network.
Last month, an Egyptian passenger train derailed near the southern city of Aswan, injuring at least six people and prompting authorities to fire the chief of the country’s railways. The incident came two weeks after at least 58 people were wounded when a passenger train derailed south of the capital Cairo.
The transport ministry has embarked on a five-year EGP 55 billion plan to upgrade the system, which includes developing infrastructure, purchasing new trains and upgrading old ones.