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. The Egyptian Railways is undeniably one of the most comfortable ways to travel while in the country. The view from the train is picturesque and is every traveller’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 has laid a heavy toll on Egypt’s Railways. Ever since the Arab Spring, the country has been witness to deadly train accidents, igniting protests from the public and protests from the Railway drivers, over low wages and over worked drivers. The recent strike called by the Railway drivers had 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’s Initiative to provide the Egyptian government with a $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 $100m of the loan, with the AFESD providing the remaining $150m.
Mr.Farag also said that the World Bank is currently in the process of reviewing projects to held develop Egypt’s railway system and also securing expertise from International consultancies to renovate railway crossing points across the country and re develop the Tanta Damietta line.