Transport minister announces plans to upgrade rail sector

Ahram Online, Wednesday 16 Jan 2013

New carriages and more money for maintenance, along with a long-term plan to reduce accidents, are rail sector priorities, says minister of transportation

Hatem Abdul Latif, minister of transportation, stated Wednesday that President Mohamed Morsi has agreed to increase the budget of the railway sector to buy new carriages and to keep up with routine maintenance following the Badrashin train crash Monday.

"The Badrashin train had undergone maintenance over a month and a half; however, it is obvious that there is a problem in the maintenance and we are working on the problem," he added at a press conference.

Abdul Latif explained that President Morsi approved a contract to buy 221 new carriages Tuesday, after meeting with Abdul Latif.

There is also a tentative agreement grant the railway LE170 million for maintenance and LE300 million to renovate the fleet of rail tractors.

Abdul Latif said that President Morsi asked him to urgently draft a long term plan for managing the railway sector effectively.

Abdul Latif added that that sector lacks discipline and faces behavioral issues, whether of labourers in handling carriages and carts, or individuals who pass by train rails.

Earlier Tuesday, Abdul Latif conducted two meetings, first with officials at the Ministry of Transportation and then with railway sector employees, discussing at both ways to eliminate train accidents.

Monday's Badrashin train crash left 19 dead and 120 injured of new Central Security Forces recruits from Upper Egypt on their way to Cairo from Assiut. The crash took place when a carriage derailed and hit a goods train parked at a storage depot.

It is the second crash to take place in Badrashin in six months and the fifth crash since President Morsi was elected in June 2012.

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