The Egyptian Railways is one of the most popular modes of public transportation in Egypt with around 800 million passenger miles annually. Most of this network connects the Nile Delta with Cairo and Alexandria. The train fares in commuter trains are kept low so that large volumes of people can travel. Travel by rail is undeniably one of the most comfortable ways to see the Egypt. The view from the train is picturesque and is every traveler’s delight. The railway route, especially along the Nile, and the Cairo-Luxor-Aswan and Cairo-Alexandria routes are simply breathtaking. A train journey the locals say, is a must if you are going to have an insight into Egypt’s culture and topography.
But mismanagement and overworked and underpaid staff have laid a heavy toll on Egypt’s rail system. Ever since the Arab Spring, the country has been witness to deadly train accidents, igniting protests from the public and protests from the locomotive drivers, over low wages and overworked drivers. The recent strike called by the railway drivers brought the country’s rail services to a complete halt.
The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development initiative to provide the Egyptian government with a USD 250 million grant to fund an electronic traffic signal project along the railway from Banha to Zagazig comes at the most opportune time, said Samir Farag, director of the International Loans Project at the Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA).
The KFED will supply USD 100 million of the loan, with the AFESD providing the remaining USD 150 million.
Mr. Farag also said the World Bank is presently reviewing projects to help develop Egypt’s railway system and also for securing expertise from international consultancies to renovate railway crossing points across the country and redevelop the Tanta Damietta line.