The Know How: Localizing the Locomotive Industry in Egypt



Tue, 30 Jan 2024 - 11:57 GMT


Tue, 30 Jan 2024 - 11:57 GMT

FILE - Transmashholding railcar upon arrival in Alexandria Port

FILE - Transmashholding railcar upon arrival in Alexandria Port

CAIRO - 30 January 2024: In the framework of the journey Egypt has embarked on to develop the railway network, the government seeks to localize the locomotive industry in partnership with the private sector to curb import in the future. Hence, the Ministry of Transport has signed several deals with global companies to build factories that would produce various locomotive products locally.




The Egyptian Cabinet approved in principle in July an investment plan by French company Alstom to establish two factories in Alexandria that would create 1,200 job opportunities for Egyptian engineers and technicians.

One factory would be dedicated to the production of electrical systems and railway components such as signals, panels, electrical circuits for control, and electrical braids, among others. The other would manufacture all types of mobile units of metro lines, trams, LRT, monorail, express trains, and other means of transport.




In March, a cooperation protocol was signed between the Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) and Spain’s Talgo for the company to build a factory in Egypt for the production of railcars. 

Minister of Transport Kamel El-Wazir stated that the plant would be built in Beni Suef's Kom Abou Rady on a surface area spanning over 20 feddans (90,000m2) next to the railway workshops. 

Each of the first and second phases of the plant comprises the manufacturing of 50 trains by Egyptian engineers and workers, but under the supervision of Spanish experts. Also, the local component is planned to be 45%. 


Flange Factory


The Egyptian Company for Self-Maintenance for Roads and Airports announced in July that the pilot operation of the RFI-260 concrete flange factory had started. The plant's cost is EGP 500 million, and is intended to cater to the high-speed electric train.


Voestalpine Railway


On July 3, 2022, the Egyptian Railways Authority (ERA) and Austria's Voestalpine Railway systems signed an agreement to jointly produce high-performance turnouts in an existing plant in Cairo's Abbaseya.


SEMAF and Hyundai Rotem


The Railway Equipment Factory (SEMAF), affiliated to the Arab Organization for Industrialization, is part of a $656-million deal with South Korea's Hyundai Rotem to manufacture and supply 32 air-conditioned metro trains for Line 3, as well as to assemble 10 others.

The Korean government, represented by the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, provides $460 million of the project's cost. In August, the factory handed over the first train to the National Authority for Tunnels.




A contract was signed between ERA and Czechia's Skoda in June to overhaul 280 train engines, carry out maintenance, and supply parts for 15 years. 

The train engines are divided into 218 Henschel-Wegmann units, and 62 Editranz units. The contract provides that two engines would be fully overhauled in Czechia in the presence of a number of Egyptian engineers and technicians to better transfer experience.

The rest would be overhauled at ERA's Tebin workshops so that the local component would make up 25-40 percent of the parts installed for 138 train engines, while the percentage would go up to 50 percent in the remainder of the units. There is also a target for Egyptian workers to compose 90 percent of labor involved in the overhauling process.

With regard to the parts used in maintenance works, locally-manufactured ones are set to compose 40% and gradually increase to 60%.


Steps Taken to Develop Railways in Egypt


It all begins with train engines, as 130 out of 260 planned new units have already entered service. Also, 61 out of 400 designated train engines have been rehabilitated. This is half the number of engines Egypt possesses. Further, five out of six Talgo trains have begun operation, while 770 out of 1,350 new railcars have been supplied.

A contract worth €1 billion was signed with Transmashholding in 2018 to supply 1,300 railcars. These include 500 dynamic-ventilation third-class units, 500 air-conditioned third-class units, 180 air-conditioned second-class units, 90 air-conditioned first-class units, and 30 air-conditioned cabooses. The deal was a must, given that only 2,200 passenger railcars out of 3,200 were functional.

As the plan equally focuses on the development of the freight fleet, 133 new well cars have been supplied.

Speaking of railroads, 653 of those were overhauled, and 857 kilometers were renovated. Also, some railroads are being transferred into railway bridges.  Renovations extended to cover 1,727 railroad switch and lock keys, signaling systems, and 364 train stations. In addition, the upgrade of 60 stations in the countryside is in-progress as part of Haya Karima initiative.

Development works include installing automatic ticket gates and automated ticket vending machines (ATVM). Most importantly, the stations will be more accommodating to passengers with disabilities by introducing club cars, special tracks and ticket windows, as well as wheelchairs for the elderly.

The ministry has also been delivering training to railway workers, and modernizing the railway workshops of Kom Abou Rady, Abou Zaabal, and Al-Farz.



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