Another African country invests in high-speed railway

Egyptian National Railways operates one of the largest railway markets in Africa and Middle East. In recent years, the company has initiated a series of measures aimed to revive this sector of the national economy and to transform the national railway network into a reliable and competent one. Thus, the country launched a Transformation Programme of the railway sector which, besides initiating a reform in the sector, assisted by Italian Railways, plans to bring massive investments for the procurement of rolling stock and modernisation of the railway infrastructure. Moreover, the Egyptian National Railways plans to invest in the construction of high-speed railways.

The operator announced the programme of investments in rolling stock procurement by 2022 which includes the acquisition of 214 coaches for the transport of passengers, 20 large-capacity trains and 50 sleeping coaches.
For the transport of passengers on short distances, the Egyptian railway company will buy 336 new coaches for regional transport services, 20 large-capacity trains for urban and suburban transport services, as well as 700 coaches to renew the existing rolling stock fleet.
As regards rail freight transport, the Egyptian operator announced that 250 classical cars will be procured in the first phase, as well as 150 open cars, 50 cars for oil products and 250 flat cars. 750 freight cars will be procured in the second phase.
For rolling stock procurement, Egyptian National Railways has signed an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a loan that amounts to USD 150 million.

USD 14 billion for the high-speed railway network

Egyptian Minister of Transport, Hesham Arafat, said his country plans to invest USD 14 billion in new rail infrastructure projects.
Arafat said that most investments will go to the high-speed railways, Luxor-Cairo, Alexandria-Cairo and Luxor-Hurghada, investments in all three projects amounting to USD 14 billion.
“The railways will be built to stimulate tourism, as this economic branch is expected to bring over 30 million tourists per year by 2025”, Minister Arafat said.
The biggest high-speed railway project, the 700-km long Cairo-Luxor line, is worth USD 6.5 billion with construction works due to be completed in 5 years. The Minister of Transport said that analyses showed that private investors would have a 9% profit in this project. The route could carry 3.4 million passengers per year. “This project could be financed through the BOT model (build, operate, transfer) or through direct financing”, added Arafat.
The 300-km long Luxor-Hurghada railway with an estimated cost of USD 4.3 billion could carry 1.5 million passengers per year. This could trigger a 10% profit for investors. Construction works will take 4 years to complete the railway.
Alexandria-Cairo railway project has been estimated at USD 3.2 billion. The railway will measure 210 km and could ensure the transport of 2.3 million passengers per year. According to estimates, construction works to this high-speed railway would take 3 years to complete and the expected profit could be of 11%. The first phase of this railway could be operational in 2017.
Other projects that need financing include a new railway for both passenger and freight transport, to link the cities of Mansoura and Damietta. Estimated costs amount to USD 89 million. Another project consists of the construction of a freight-dedicated railway to link Abu Tartur, the biggest phosphate mine in Egypt to the Port of Safaga. Costs for this line are expected to rise to USD 92 million.

by Elena Ilie

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