resident Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his speech at the inauguration of El Alalmein City and other projects- press photo
CAIRO - 2 March 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said on Thursday that Egypt’s rail lines require funds from LE 200 billion ($11 billion) to LE 250 billion ($14 billion) to upgrade them.
During the inauguration of the first phase of the New Alamein City, Sisi added that there is not enough money for the rehabilitation of rail lines, adding that he will raise money from passenger rail networks to be able to develop network lines.
Commenting on the train crash that happened on Wednesday in Beheira governorate, Sisi stressed that he stands by applying an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), which is an innovative service used in monitoring roads and managing the traffic, to decrease Egypt’s accidents especially that around 5000 road accidents happen every year.
He called upon his advisor Ibrahim Mahlab to follow up the investigations on the accident, and reveal its results to citizens.
He requested for establishing a committee of professors, military technical faculty and the Ministry of Transport to inspect all train locomotives and provide them with the needed care, referring that some lines will be stopped until their efficiency is promoted.
In this regard, in an interview with “Evening dmc” on Wednesday, Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat said that railway networks’ infrastructure has aged, especially its signaling systems and track, and they require to upgrade them.
Arafat said that the ministry is exerting efforts to improve the basic rail infrastructure by constructing, investing and operating, but a huge amount of money is needed nevertheless.
At least 15 people have died and 40 were injured in a train crash that took place in Beheira governorate on Wednesday, according to the Transport Minister Spokesperson Mohamed Ezz.
Eyewitnesses reported that two separate passenger train carriages swerved out of the railways and crashed into a cargo train.
The Ministry of Health provided the accident site with 30 ambulances to aid survivors.
Chief of Egyptian National Railways, Sayed Salem, headed to the accident's site to closely follow up the rescue works and investigations.
Minister of Transportation Hisham Arafat ordered the formation of a technical committee to investigate the accident, while all hospitals raised their readiness degree to the max in anticipation for the wounded passengers.
Egypt's train accidents history
In 2016, 1,249 accidents were reported on the Egyptian railway network, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
A total of 13,539 train accidents occurred between 2004 and 2016, reports CAPMAS, citing numbers released by the National Railway Authority of Egypt.
Egypt’s railway network is one of the world’s oldest networks, which transport 500 million passengers annually, according to Egyptian Railways (ENR).
In July 2017, ENR signed $575 million deal with U.S.-based General Electric to supply 100 new locomotives for both passengers and freight rail services and refurbish 81 old engines. It includes a 15-year technical support agreement and technical training program for more than 275 engineers and technicians to improve their capabilities and technical skills.
In October 2017, Arafat declared during a press conference that Egypt will purchase 1,000 new trains worth LE 16 billion ($9 billion) to develop the old railway system, adding that he expects that the upgrade project will be finalized in 2020 to 2022.