Egypt's urgent railway development to cost LE41 billion: Minister

Ahram Online, Saturday 22 Nov 2014

A logo on a train reads "Egypt Railways (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s aging railway urgently needs LE41 billion to develop 700 outdated carriages and 21 tractor units, Minister of Transportation Hany Dahy said Saturday, according to the state-owned MENA news agency.

Negotiations to purchase 700 new ordinary carriages are ongoing with Hungarian, Chinese and Spanish companies, said the minister without specifying the source of funding.

The ministry is expecting to soon receive 212 air conditioned carriages, added Dahy.

Egypt’s railway, which transports around 1.4 million passengers every day, has been struggling with an outdated system for years.

The number of fatalities from train accidents reached 781 in 2013, almost 74 percent more than in 2012, which saw 447 train-related deaths, revealed a report published this year by the state-run statistics agency CAPMAS.

More than half of those accidents were caused by deficiencies in railway crossings.

The government has not announced any long term plans to develop the whole railway system.

The transport ministry also plans to raise ticket prices for air conditioned passenger trains in January, said Dahy.

In 2013, Egypt's Railway Authority saw its revenues drop 34 percent compared to the prior year on the back of repeated suspensions in its operations due to security reasons.

Revenues from passenger rail fell 39 percent, registering LE611 million ($88 million), while those from commercial rail dropped five percent to hit LE145 million ($21 million) in 2013.

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