EGYPT: A US$4·5bn contract has been signed for the construction of 660 km of ‘modern, safe, and integrated’ mixed traffic electrified railway connecting Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea with Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean via the New Administrative Capital and 6th October City. This is intended as the first phase of a planned 1 800 km railway development programme.
The 15-year turnkey contract covering design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the line was signed by the National Authority for Tunnels, which manages infrastructure projects, and a consortium of Siemens Mobility and its local partners Orascom Construction and The Arab Contractors.
NAT will build bridges and facilitate civil works, while the local members of the consortium partners will install the tracks.
Siemens Mobility’s share is worth around US$3bn, with the vast majority of its order intake expected to be booked in 2022 after financial close. The company said the project would be based ‘on state-of-the-art technology, proven products, and European standards’; it is to supply Velaro high speed trains, Desiro HC regional electric multiple-units and Vectron freight locomotives, along with ETCS Level 2, power supplies, telecoms and safety and security systems.
The consortium expects to create more than 15 000 direct jobs in Egypt, with an additional 3 800 at local suppliers and indirectly through the wider national economy. Siemens Mobility will support a ‘significant’ local, technical training and qualification programme.
Two more lines
The contract announced on September 1 is the first to be signed following a memorandum of understanding agreed in January.
The partners plan to finalise agreements in the coming months covering two additional lines connecting the Greater Cairo region with Aswan to the south along the River Nile, and Luxor with Hurghada and Safaga on the Red Sea coast.
‘Major leap in the field of rail transport’
Future ridership is estimated at more than 30 million passengers/year, with journey times to be reduced by 50%. The electrified railway would also have lower greenhouse gas emissions than current transport options.
Cairo’s population has doubled since 1980 to around 20 million inhabitants, and new cities are currently being developed around the metropolis. Siemens Mobility said these would benefit from a ‘comfortable and affordable’ commuter services to reduce travel time from east to west.
The railway will also connect sea and dry ports to improve the overall efficiency of moving freight. The plans envisage that the volume of freight transported by rail will increase by 15%.
‘This high speed train will strengthen the infrastructure of the areas it passes through and help achieve urban sprawl, in addition to linking the New Administrative Capital and new cities to the railway network for transporting passengers and goods’, explained Minister of Transport Lieutenant General Kamel El-Wazir on September 1.
‘The project will also help promote tourism through a fast, modern, and safe means of transportation characterised by the highest levels of efficiency and safety to meet the needs and expectations of all Egyptians across the country which is considered a major leap in the field of rail transport.’
Roland Busch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, said ‘we are proud to support the Egyptian government’s ambition to transform its transport sector by building its first high speed electric rail network. This landmark project will create jobs, boost economic growth, and improve quality of life for millions of people, by creating a more efficient, safe and sustainable transport system.’