Minister of Transport Kamel El-Wazir
Minister of Transportation Kamel El-Wazir said on Saturday that the government has agreed on installing an automatic train control, with a speed control mechanism, in response to any emergency.
His remarks came as he attended a Cabinet meeting on Saturday. The meeting took place the day after a tragic train collision - in Upper Egypt’s Sohag - caused the death of at least 19 and injured 185, as according to updated figures stated by the ministry of health today.
El-Wazir said that the planned automatic train control system may cause a delay for the trains.
He added that, however, it would be the only current solution to ensure the safety of passengers and make sure similar accidents do not take place once again.
“This [system] takes control of the train in case [any] train faces an obstacle [like] if the railway semaphore is closed, if a railway station was not open or if a grade crossing is open, [this system] can stop the train on its own,” El-Wazir said.
El-Wazir extended, during the meeting, an official apology over the deadly train collision, voicing his keenness in that similar incidents do not take place in the future.
El-Wazir said the cause of the incident will be later revealed after the Public Prosecution finishes their investigation.
“I, as a member of a wise government that is concerned about [the safety] of its people, cannot endure that another incident [as such] happens [again],” said El-Wazir.
El-Wazir added that the state has allocated EGP 225 billion to develop the railway system since he took up his post in March 2019.
The minister reiterated the state’s plan to ensure all the trains in the Egyptian railway system are either developed or replaced by new imported ones by the end of the year.
He also affirmed that the modernisation strategy includes developing the signalling system.
The tragic incident on Friday occurred as two trains collided in the Upper Egyptian governorate. The ministry of transport said unknown individuals activated the emergency brake on the train causing the train to stop and a rear-end collision to occur.
Officials and ministers moved to the scene while the Public Prosecution announced opening an investigation.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi vowed a “deterrent punishment” against culprits.