Egypt replaces obsolete carriages running on its 10,000-kilometre railway

Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 Dec 2021

Egypt announced on Tuesday the retirement of the latest old railway carriages running on its 10,000-kilometre railway tracks, marking an end to a major part of an EGP 225 billion national comprehensive overhaul scheme for the world's second-oldest rail line.

Railway Egypt
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the Minister of Transportation Kamel El-Wazir during the inspection of the new railway carriages on Tuesday 28 December, 2021. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Presidential spokesman Facebook page.

New carriages replacing old ones were introduced earlier in the day in Aswan train station, the southernmost railway stop, in a step witnessed by the country's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and a host of officials.

Starting Wednesday, all coaches runnning on the rail will be new ones, El-Sisi said while inspecting development projects in Upper Egypt's Aswan, where he also toured the development work in the Aswan train station.

Egypt, as of 2014, has signed a handful of deals with international transport giants to develop the long marginalised and obsolete railway sector, which has seen fatal accidents over the past several years.

"The development [rate] accomplished in the railways exceeds what has been achieved in 60 years," the president stressed.

The country has allocated EGP 225 billion ($14.3 million) to develop all sector components, including carriages, tractors, stations infrastructure, and signaling systems, in addition to upskill the personal of the Egyptian National Railway (ENR), Transport Minister Kamel El-Wazir, who accompanied El-Sisi in the tour, said in a briefing on the sideline of the event.

The development plan includes EGP 53 billion for moving components, EGP 105 billion for infrastructure, EGP 50 billion for signalling system, EGP 15 for maintenance workshops, EGP 2 billion for human resources, according to the minister.

El-Wazir said all old railway coaches were due to be replaced starting from January as planned, but the step was put days forward.

The ENR is currently transporting up to 1.1 million passengers on a daily basis;  around 100,000 higher than the highest figure recorded ahead of the 2011 revolution, more precisely in 2009, the minister said, adding that due to the sector's deficiency the number declined over the course of 2009-2013 from one million daily commuters to only 700,0000.

The sector has been suffering from obselate coaches and tractors – with most of which operational 30-40 years ago – in addition to manual and mechanical signalling systems and shortage of technical workers, El-Wazir explained.

The country, as a result, El-Wazir said had drawn up a comprehensive development scheme, succeeding in attracting more passengers over the past few years, with plan to increase the daily number of passenger to 1.5 million by 2024 and 2 million by 2030.

Earlier in the day, El-Sisi, accompanied by a number of ministers, inspected Kima’s Ammonia and Urea Complex in Aswan as part of an extensive inspection tour since the start of the week to Upper Egypt’s developmental projects.

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