Akram Shalaby, General Manager of Reseach and Development of Egyptian National Railways (ENR), explains the company’s future plans for a state-of-the-art network throughout the country.
Mafex: Egypt makes progress towards a modern railway provided with state-of-the-art infrastructure. What are your company’s plans in this field?
Akram Shalaby: ENR has prepared a sustainable development strategy to implement rolling stock and infrastructure development plans with a future vision. This objective is reflected in the long term plan until 2029/2030 for a total amount of 174 EGP BN (8,5 million EUR). This amount also includes co-financing projects, such as high speed and freight lines.
Mafex: Which are the main actions highlighted in this long term plan in terms of infrastructure?
A.S.: On the one hand, 2000 km of track will be renewed along the Egyptian railway lines. In addition, the current mechanical signaling will be replaced by a new electronic interlocking system (EIS) in the “Cairo-Alexandria”-“Beni Suief-Assyut”-Banha-Port Said” and”Assyut -Nagah Hammadi / Luxor” lines. The item for these works is in the amount of 715 million dollars (617 (8,5 million EUR). In addition, the existing ATC Automatic Train Control Systems (ZUBs) will be replaced by the modern ETCS-Level 1. This also includes the development of 886 level crossings, with civil works and implementation of control systems, for which we have a budget of 1.8 EGP BN (87.9 million EUR).
Mafex: Are there more plans in this field? What is the role of high speed?
A.S.: The current program also includes replacing the mechanical interlocking system with the new electronic one (EIS) in the Tanta-El Mansura-Damietta lines. The construction of the Cairo-Aswan-Luxor-Hurghada branches is planned for high speed. In this regard, it is noteworthy to mention that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in March 2015 between the Governments of Egypt and Spain, for the study of future lines (Cairo/Luxor) and (Luxor/ Hurghada). In April this year, INECO consultancy drafted a feasibility study that is being studied by ENR.
Mafex: Along with the great advances in infrastructure, the rolling stock plans are also highlighted. Can you give us more details on this matter?
A.S.: The rolling stock is another key aspect of ENR’s plans. There will be a large number of improvement actions, such as the supply by Semaf Factory of 212 cars (VIP) provided with air conditioning for an amount of 2,086 EGP BN (101 million EUR). 145 Mumaiaza cars will be also developed within this system. It also aims to renovate and repair miscellaneous damages of another 1350 cars. On the other hand, the Qader factory will be in charge of the improvement of another 450 units and of the development of 39 sleeping cars and other six club cars.