Final touches to the LRT

Karima Abdel-Ghani, Tuesday 18 Jan 2022

The final touches are being added to Egypt’s light rail transit system that is set to transport millions of passengers nationwide.

Egypt has embarked on a mega transportation project comprising a light rail transit (LRT) system, high-speed trains, and a monorail that will help to provide safe and environmentally friendly modes of transport for people nationwide.  

The target of the Ministry of Transportation is to build systems serving the transport needs of nine million people by 2030, said Essam Wali, head of the National Tunnels Authority.

A new road network is being followed by a new transportation network that will contribute to sustainable development, serve communities and new cities nationwide, and connect the governorates with each other as well as with the New Administrative Capital to which government offices will be relocated, he said.

Construction work on the new LRT has been finished and trials have commenced. The LRT connecting 10 Ramadan City and the New Administrative Capital has 12 stations, and a pilot operation will take place in a few days.

Haitham Raafat, manager of the LRT project, told the Weekly that it is being implemented in four phases.

The first and second phases extend for 70 km between 10 Ramadan City and the New Administrative Capital and include seven flyovers for vehicles, two tunnels for the LRT, a tunnel for vehicles, and seven bridges for the LRT.

The stations include Adli Mansour, Obour, Mostakbal, Shorouk, New Heliopolis, Employees Station, Badr, New Administrative Capital 1 and 2, and 10 Ramadan 1 and 2.

The third and fourth phases terminate in Aswan and have a total length of 103 km and 19 stations. In the New Administrative Capital and Ain Sokhna the LRT intersects with the monorail and high-speed train system, Raafat added.

The LRT project was completed in 22 months, he said.

The Badr station where Raafat was speaking is made up of 26 buildings. Next to the main building there are workshops for heavy and light maintenance, operations, and storage spread over 80 acres.

Work is almost finished in this location, and the final touches are being added by Egyptian companies. Some 13,000 workers are working on 26 LRT construction sites, as well as on electricity and technical and hydraulic works, Raafat said.

Egypt’s new transport network targets high-density areas. The location of the stations is determined according to the expected density of the population, he explained.

The Badr station is the largest and most important in the LRT project and is an interchange point for different modes of transport. Equally important is the Adli Mansour station, where the Cairo underground, the LRT, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, the SuperJet, and the regular railway (Suez line) meet.

People can travel to any governorate in the country from this station, Raafat said.

New Administrative Capital 1 and 2 are also important as they are where the LRT intersects with the monorail and high-speed train system, he added.

The maximum speed of the LRT is 120 km/h, but operational speeds will range between 90 and 100 km/h. Trains will arrive every three to five minutes to enable the transportation of a million passengers on a daily basis, and the duration of the trip from Adli Mansour to the New Administrative Capital stations will not exceed 45 minutes.

With 99 per cent of the work now done, the remaining one per cent is restricted to the waiting areas and finishing work on the electrical and mechanical, escalators, elevators, screens, and signals systems.

Trials on the LRT have already begun to ensure the safety of the system. They include moving at speeds starting from five km/h to 80 km/h with sudden stops. The trials are being supervised by expert committees to ensure they conform to the highest international standards, Raafat said.

The Ministry of Transport has signed contracts to import 22 LRT trains, of which six have already arrived.

Haitham Ibrahim, in charge of station and flyover works on the LRT, said that different design and spatial principles were used for the construction of the underground and the LRT.

Train stations are smaller, and while the underground’s speed is 80 km/h, LRT trains travel at 120 km/h. LRT trains have six carriages, fewer than the number on the underground.

An advantage of the LRT is that stations are built in new areas, allowing for the building of parking lots for 400 cars as well as commercial and leisure zones.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 20 January, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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