President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi on Sunday inaugurated Egypt’s first Light Rail Transit (LRT) and its starting point in Salam city, the first mass transportation linking the New Administrative Capital to Greater Cairo.
Over three phases, one of which is now operational, the LRT — a sustainable means of green mass transportation that runs on electricity instead of diesel — is designed to move at a speed of 120 km/hour and will cover 103.3 km.
Through 19 stations, the LRT will link Cairo, Obour, Mostakbal (Future), Shorouk, New Heliopolis, Badr, the Industrial Zone, and 10 Ramadan cities with the New Administrative Capital and will run over a route of more than 100 km.
The first stage comprises 12 stations, including Adli Mansour, Badr City, the Culture and Arts City in the new capital, and Obour, Minister of Transportation Kamel Al-Wazir said during the inauguration.
Tickets for rides of three stops on the LRT will cost LE15, rides of six stops will be priced at LE20, and rides of nine stops will cost LE25, while 12 stops — the total number of stations that have been finalised out of 19 — will be for LE35.
The LRT will intersect with the under-construction monorail at the new capital’s station of the Arts and Culture Centre, and with Egypt’s first high-speed electric railway when finished at an interchange station on the Cairo-Sokhna highway.
Every LRT train carriage can accommodate up to 300 commuters, with a total capacity of 1,300 passengers, Al-Wazir briefed Al-Sisi, adding that it has the ability to transport up to one million people daily.
Al-Wazir said the LRT’s carriages offer a high level of railway security for commuters and feature Wi-Fi services and on-board displays, noting that each carriage includes seven surveillance cameras and a telephone that can be used in the event of an emergency.
The 22 trains of the LRT, costing $227 million, include seats allocated for people with special needs, the minister said, stressing that all the LRT stations are configured to facilitate access and movement for people with disabilities.
Al-Sisi and Al-Wazir also inaugurated the LRT starting station, Adli Mansour interchange station in Salam City, the largest station in the Middle East with an area of 1.1 million square metres.
The station, which is named after the country’s former interim president Adli Mansour (2013-2014), includes a full-service transportation complex and a commercial investment zone on 15 feddans.
The station includes five transport modes as it hosts the Cairo-Suez railway line, Cairo Metro’s third line, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System, and SuperJet buses that run along three lines as well as the LRT.
The minister noted that a unified ticket would be issued for all means of transportation at Adli Mansour Interchange Station.
The station was built as part of the country’s efforts to upgrade its transportation sector and encourage the public to depend on environmentally friendly means of mass transportation, Al-Wazir said.
Al-Sisi also gave directives during the inauguration to start the experimental operation of the Cairo underground metro third line’s Safaa Hegazi Metro Station in Zamalek along with the first part of the third phase of the line. The first part of the third phase includes four stations — Gamal Abdel-Nasser in downtown Cairo, Maspero, Safaa Hegazi in Zamalek, and Kitkat in Imbaba — stretching over four km.
The Zamalek metro station was re-named Safaa Hegazi in tribute to the renowned TV presenter who died in 2017.
Al-Wazir added that Cairo Metro’s third line starts from Adli Mansour Interchange Station, encompassing Rod Al-Farag Axis in the north and Cairo University in the south with a length of 41-42 km, including 34 stations, and transporting 1.5 million passengers.
Cairo Metro’s third line will connect the New Administrative Capital’s monorail at Cairo Stadium Station in Nasr City and 6 October city’s monorail at the Nile Valley Station in Mohandessin.
EIGHT YEARS OF PROJECTS: The Egyptian Ministry of Transport has implemented a huge number of national projects over the past eight years in several sectors, including roads, bridges, ports, and transportation.
The ministry recently released a statement detailing the projects that have been finalised and those still under construction.
Concerning roads and bridges, the ministry said out of the 7,000 km of new roads envisaged by the National Road project, 5,500 km have been built, 7,500 km of roads have been developed, and 900 bridges have been constructed in the past eight years.
Among the major constructed roads are the Upper Egypt Western Desert Road between Cairo and Minya governorates, with a length of 230km and a cost of LE7 billion, the Upper Egypt-Red Sea Road (Sohag-Safaga) 180 km long and costing LE1 billion, Galala road that covers 82km at a cost of LE4.5 billion, and the new Sharm El-Sheikh road with a length of 350 km at a cost of LE3.2 billion.
The National Road Project was launched in 2014 by Al-Sisi when he took office with the goal of improving and extending Egypt’s 23,500 km long road network.
The year the project was launched, Egypt ranked 118 in terms of the quality of road infrastructure in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Report. By 2019, it had climbed to 28th place.
Regarding Nile axes, the ministry said it has constructed 13 axes over the River Nile at a cost of LE14 billion. Among them are Tahya Misr, Bani Mazar, Talkha, and Dairout. Moreover, it added that work was progressing in the implementation of 14 more axes at a cost of LE20 billion.
Concerning the railway sector, the ministry said in terms of mobile unit development projects, 110 new tractors have been received out of 260 contracted, and 45 tractors have been rehabilitated out of 172. It added that 658 new carriages have been supplied out of 1,300. The plan is to raise the efficiency of 1,273 carriages, from which 1,235 have been renewed.
Some 580 railway crossings out of 1,120 have been built, the ministry noted.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 7 July, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.