Plans released in wake of 2017 Alexandria rail disaster and recent crash in Beheira
Egypt plans to invest a total of $3.1 billion for the revamp of its national railway network over the next five years, which will include the addition of 1,000 new train cars, the country’s transport minister has announced.
According to a report in the Arabic-language Al Ahram newspaper, Hisham Arafat said that Egypt has a clear and comprehensive plan to develop all aspects of the country’s railway system, including infrastructure, tractors, train carriages and signals.
His comments come off the back of President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi saying in 2017 that there was a need for upgradation of Egypt’s railway network to prevent major accidents happening. He stated at the time that $10 billion needed to be invested into the system in order to modernise it.
President Sisi’s comments came shortly after a train disaster in Alexandria, which killed 41 people and injured more than 179 others.
Arafat said that Egypt has signed deals with General Electric for the supply of 100 tractors and the refurbishing of 81 others, as well as access to funding for another 100 tractors.
“We have also signed deals for 1,300 passenger carriages and 300 others for cargo,” he stated, adding that the system will see the upgrades take effect by 2019.
His comments come a month after Egypt’s parliament approved several government-drafted amendments to the 1980 law that regulates the performance of Egypt’s debt-laden Railway Authority (ERA), with a view towards reviving the country’s railway sector, which has a poor record with regards to safety and management.