posted on 11th Aug 2022 22:25
On 28 December 2021, during the inauguration of a number of national projects in Upper Egypt by His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Republic, Lieutenant-General, Engineer Kamel El-Wazir, Minister of Transport, presented the establishment and development of Egyptian railways. At the beginning of his speech, the Minister said:
"In the name of Almighty Allah, the Most Gracious and Most Merciful Mr. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Republic, it is my pleasure to have the honor to stand before you today for the second time, and during the Upper Egypt week. The first time was about the projects implemented by the state in the various transport sectors, especially those projects implemented for the benefit of Upper Egypt.
Today, I am here before you to talk about the establishment and development of Egyptian Railways, especially the rolling stock of locomotives, coaches and wagons, and how the state, under the directives of your Excellency, transformed the railways into safe, modern and developed means of transportation that provide a dignified service to the Egyptian citizen, especially in Upper Egypt, to keep pace with Decent Life Initiative that you launched."
Minister of Transport presented the development of railway lines construction until it reached 10,000 km in 2021, and it will reach 13,100 km in 2024 and 15,000 km in 2030. Referring to the development of rolling stock, he confirmed that:
- in 1854 there were 47 steam locomotives, 111 coaches, and 114 wagons,
- in 1952 there were 200 steam locomotives and 436 diesel locomotives, 1,432 coaches, and 7,132 wagons,
- in 2010 the numbers reached 810 locomotives, 3,000 coaches and 8,410 wagons,
- in 2021 the numbers reached 887 locomotives, 3,417 coaches and 8,559 wagons.
For 2024 it is planned the numbers will be 1,050 locomotives, 4,317 coaches and 9,643 wagons, and for 2030 in total 1,250 locomotives, 4,817 coaches and 11,000 wagons.
The Minister of Transport confirmed that the number of daily passengers on railways in Egypt in 2009 was 1 million daily. Then there was a severe shortcoming in ENR’s performance in 2011, and the number of railway passengers decreased to 700,000 daily. Beginning in 2014, a comprehensive plan was drawn up for the redevelopment of ENR until the number of passengers via railways achieved 900,000 daily in 2020, and in 2021 the number of passengers achieved 1.1 million daily.
The Minister referred to the challenges before 2014, when ENR had:
- 810 locomotives, of which 530 (65 %) were with an average age of 35 years,
- 3,200 coaches, of which 2,000 (63 %) were with an average age of 30 - 40 years,
- 8,700 wagons, of which 7,000 (80 %) were with old technology.
Furthermore, there was a dilapidated infrastructure (tracks - stations - level crossings), in addition to the obsolescence of signaling systems and means of controlling trains running. Moreover, the condition of the workshops was not good, and the equipment was obsolete, in addition to the low level of workers' performance and a severe shortage of technical labor.
The minister added that a plan was drawn up for the development of railways, as it was planned to develop all ENR’s sectors in parallel (infrastructure and rolling stock) to meet the volume of demand for railways, starting with the development of the signaling system and level crossings to allow an increase in the number of trains on the network and to raise security and safety levels and supply new locomotives and coaches.
This resulted in 1.1 million passengers daily, and it is planned to reach 1.5 million passengers daily in 2024, with the continuation of constructing new lines and the double-tracking of high-density single-track lines, bringing the number of passengers in 2030 to 2 million daily.
Then the Minister clarified the axes of the development plan, as the financial cost of implementing this plan for all railway components amounts to 225 billion pounds (around 11.7 billion EUR), of which 53 billion pounds (around 2.8 billion EUR) are for rolling stock, 105 billion pounds (around 5.5 billion EUR) for developing the infrastructure, 50 billion pounds for developing signaling systems, 15 billion pounds for developing workshops, and 2 billion pounds to develop the human element.
Of the 810 locomotives in 2014, only 450 were working and 360 were idle... although 600 locomotives were required for daily operation, resulting in a deficit of 150 locomotives. It has been planned to supply 260 new locomotives with advanced technology and equipped with a computer to determine the technical condition of these locomotives and an advanced system to control trains running, in addition to raising the efficiency and refurbishing 172 old locomotives.
The minister pointed out that the number of coaches in 2014 was 3,200, of which 2,200 were working and 1,000 were idle. However the daily requirement for operation was 2,800 coaches, thus with a deficit of 600 coaches.
During the period 2014 to 2016, the Arab Organization for Industrialization supplied 212 air-conditioned coaches for ENR (the largest deal at that time). In 2019, a contract was made with the TMH to supply 1,300 new coaches of various types, which is the largest deal in ENR’s history. In 2019, a contract was also concluded with Talgo to supply 6 trainsets.
Lieutenant-General Kamel Al-Wazir, Minister of Transport, explained that in light of the directives of the President of the Republic, the Ministry of Transport has completed the development and upgrading of 1,017 ordinary and air-conditioned coaches out of a total of 1,313 coaches in ENR’s various workshops to ensure that no old coaches is operated on network lines.
The Minister confirmed that of 8,700 wagons in 2014 only 4,500 were working and 4,200 were idle, with a transport capacity of 4 million tons annually, at a rate of 1 % of the total volume of freight in Egypt.
Concerning the development of stations, plans were made to develop 370 stations at a cost of 2.7 billion pounds, including 108 in Upper Egypt at a cost of 516 million pounds, as part of the Ministry of Transport’s plan to develop stations as well as centers and villages stations included in Decent Life Initiative.
To celebrate removing of the last old coaches from regular passenger service, a number of new and renewed trains were lined up at a four stations on 28 December 2021:
- Misr station (Ramses station, main station) in Cairo: 1 train with new Russian air-con third-class coaches, 1 train with new Russian coaches of dynamic ventilation, 1 train of renewed third-class coaches (Tahya Misr), 1 train of renewed third-class coaches (SEMAF),
- Misr station in Alexandria: 4 trains of new Russian air-con third-class coaches,
- Luxor station: mixed train (VIP - Russian with dynamic ventilation - buffet - renewed third-class coaches Tahya Misr),
- Aswan station: 1 train with new Russian air-con third-class coaches, 1 train with new Russian coaches of dynamic ventilation, 1 train with renewed third-class coaches (Tahya Misr Coaches), mixed train (VIP - Spanish - sleeping - club).
It is also worth recalling that in 2018, the Egyptian Railway Authority mentioned the intention to introduce double-deck trains (carriages) on Egyptian railways. Their production was supposed to involve the domestic industry and they were supposed to be in service as early as 2019. However, this did not happen and this plan is now not even presented anywhere.
And it seems that a big change will also befall freight transport, as ENR announced on 1 February 2022 that it wants to entrust the operation of rail freight transport to the private sector. It has therefore invited interested parties and companies specialising in logistics services and freight transport to take part in a first round of preliminary consultations that same month. The outcome or the way forward has, however, not yet been made public.