The World Bank has approved a USD 440 million loan to enhance the safety and service quality of the Egypt railways, part of the Railway improvement and safety for Egypt programme.
The project has a total value of USD 681.1 million which includes a contribution of USD 241.1 million from the Egyptian National Railways (ENR). The project will focus on the modernisation of the signalling system on the Cairo – Giza – Beni Suef section of the ENR network and supporting the reforms needed to enhance company’s performance and competitiveness.
“Today more than ever, there is a great need to develop sustainable infrastructure. Redefining smarter transport solutions improves safety, enhances mobility, safeguards the environment, and strengthens job creation and economic growth. This project supports the momentum for reform and the demand for urban mobility and reliable public transport, integral to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” Rania A. Al-Mashat, the Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation said.
The newly approved Railway improvement and safety for Egypt (RISE) is a continuation of the ENR restructuring project, which concluded in 2020 and focused on upgrading the signalling system of the Alexandria – Cairo and Beni Suef – Nag Hammadi rail sections with a total length of 763 km. The RISE project also aims to improve safety for ENR passengers and workers in a holistic and systemic manner by introducing an upgraded Safety Management System. Service quality will also improve due to the improved punctuality, which is expected to increase from 75 to 90 percent of trains running on time.
“Modernising and reforming Egypt’s railways is critical to meeting citizens’ travel needs and boosting the overall economy. Improving the service for millions of passengers per day is a priority, particularly because citizens depend on the ENR to access jobs and do other tasks, including fulfilling personal errands. Increasing freight transport is also a critical objective, which will increase the economy’s overall competitiveness. Through partnering with the World Bank on this project, we aim to enhance the performance of this important sector,” Kamel El Wazir, Egypt’s Minister of Transport said.
The ENR has transported 270 million passengers in FY2019 up from 228 million in FY2015 and 247 million in FY2010. Over the years, ENR has faced multiple obstacles that show there is margin for improving its performance, namely in the realms of operations, cost recovery, maintenance, and customer service.