Chinese contractor to revolutionise Egypt’s rail system

9 April 2014

Egypt’s Ministry of Transportation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China for the development of a railway system for Cairo.

The $800m deal will create an 80km link between Bilbeis City, Sharqeya, and El-Salam on the eastern side of the Cairo city region. The electrified line will connect with Cairo Metro at Salam station.

The scheme is part of a $10bn programme to create a high-speed rail line between Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast and the town of Aswan in Upper Egypt.

When completed, its trains will reach a speed of 350kmph.

An old Egyptian diesel locomotive outside Aswan. The new system will be Egypt’s first to use electric traction (MPW57/Wikimedia Commons)

At present there is only one train a day running the 1,000km between the two cities, and it takes 16 hours to complete the journey at an average speed of about 60kmph.

The Chinese firm has agreed to offer complete designs and final studies for the project. The 200km first phase of the work will connect Alexandria to Giza by 2017.

Ibrahim El-Demeiry, Egypt’s minister of transportation, said that the project would boost the Egyptian economy and contribute to the reduction of pollution and accidents on its road network

The Egyptian government is planning to issue public shares to finance the project.

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