Egypt is doing more than just fixing problems. It is working to overhaul its transportation platform and establish itself as a major transit corridor for railway transportation.
Here are two major transport infrastructure projects in Egypt.
Rehabilitation of the Abu Qir metro and Raml tram in Alexandria, and the second metro line in Cairo
In 2020, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat and Director of Operations in Neighboring Countries at the European Investment Bank (EIB) Flavia Palanza signed a development financing agreement worth €1.1 billion aiming to support the rehabilitation of the Abu Qir metro and Raml tram in Alexandria, and the second metro line in Cairo in order to promote sustainable transport and inclusive urbanisation.
Asyut and Nagh Hammadi line
The Egyptian Government has approved, under the World Bank aid rules, €240.6 million of public support to upgrade traffic management equipment for rail vehicles in the country, according to Egyptian news agencies.
The national scheme consists of two measures. The first measure will support the furnishing of Egyptian National Railways (ENR) vehicles with the EU Railways management system advanced equipment.
The second measure will support the furnishing of those same vehicles with automatic train operation (ATO).
It’s worth mentioning that ATO is an operational safety enhancement device used to help automate the operation of trains.
The scheme allows to equip the old Egyptian vehicles with both ERTMS and ATO. ERTMS is a safety system that ensures compliance by trains with speed restrictions and signalling status.
This system is expected to enable the creation of a seamless European railway system, and increase the safety and competitiveness of the Egyptian rail sector. The two measures supporting the rail freight sector will ensure increased public support to further encourage the shift of freight traffic from road to rail.
The public support will take the form of direct grants Egyptian railway vehicles, to be used for upgrading the existing equipment. The measure will run until 2023.
The Egyptian transportation project is beneficial for the environment and for mobility as it supports rail transport, which is less polluting than road transport, while also decreasing road congestion.
Furthermore, the measure is proportionate and necessary as it promotes interoperability of railway systems in Egypt and supports the shift of freight transport from road to rail whilst not leading to undue competition distortions.
On this basis, Egyptian National Railways (ENR) has awarded Thales group a 3-year contract to improve its signalling and telecommunications systems and all works related to a 180km-long section of line.
The line runs between the towns of Asyut and Nagh Hammadi, located in the Upper Egypt portion of the Alexandria–Cairo–Aswan rail corridor.
The project is part of an ambitious plan, promoted by the Ministry of Transportation and completely financed by the World Bank, aimed at transforming Egypt’s railway infrastructure.
In the same context, the project will improve traffic safety and security to allow trains to travel at speeds of up to 160km/h, as opposed to the current 120km/h, and traffic volumes are expected to double.
Moreover, the upgrades cover the replacement of existing mechanical signalling with electronic interlockings, helping to increase speed and improve safety.
All of these changes will increase passenger and goods transport capacity across the backbone line that links the North and South of the country from Alexandria to Cairo all the way up to Aswan.
The chosen Thales solution is designed to work together with the existing ATP system (Automatic Train Protection) and a future European Train Control System (ETCS).
The project includes full protection of signalling and telecommunications systems against cyber-attacks to ensure safety and system availability.
It’s worth noting that ENR is the second-largest railway operator in Africa. The network includes more than 5,000km of lines and is the longest-established rail network in the world after the UK’s.