Egypt allocates LE835 million for 'urgent' overhaul of railway

Ahram Online, Thursday 7 Feb 2013

Planning minister says LE835 will be used for urgent maintenance and development of Egypt's crumbling railway system

Egypt railway
Egypt railway (Photo: Reuters)

A sum of LE835 million has been allocated for the repair of Egypt's battered railway system in the 2012-2013 budget, Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Arabi was reported as saying by state news agency MENA on Thursday.

The funds, required to implement an "urgent" plan for the maintenance and development of the Egyptian railway, will include LE635 million from Egypt's treasury and LE200 million from the National Investment Bank, said El-Arabi.

The plan would involve repairing and automating railroad crossings, purchasing spare parts for vehicles, control and safety mechanisms, air-conditioned carriages and second-class carriages.

Egypt's antiquated and overloaded railway has witnessed a series of accidents in the past two decades, but these have become increasingly frequent and grave in the past few months.

On 14 January, a train carriage carrying 200 conscripts derailed near Badrashin in Giza, south of Cairo, crashing into a parked train outside a storage deport, killing nineteen and injuring 120.

Two months earlier in November 2012, a train ploughed into a bus at a railway crossing in Assiut, Upper Egypt, killing 51 schoolchildren.

That same month saw a collision between two trains in Fayoum, south of Cairo, killing three and injuring 46.

Following the Badrashin carnage in January, Transport Minister Hatem Abdel-Latif told the upper house of parliament that at least $71 million was required for the complete overhaul of Egypt's railway system.

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