Alexandria (Photo: Anwar Hassan/Pixabay)

EGYPT: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development is to provide a €250m loan to co-finance the conversion of an Egyptian National Railways line in Alexandria into a high-capacity metro.

The EBRD funding announced on March 7 is part of a €1·76bn package co-financed by the European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The underused suburban railway runs from Alexandria northeast to Abu Qir. EBRD said the conversion to metro standards would provide a significant increase in capacity and service levels to cater for future demand on the corridor, with electrification reducing noise and pollution by encouraging modal shift from road transport.

The project is being managed by the National Authority for Tunnels, and will include new signalling, telecoms, control systems and rolling stock. The 22 km route from Misr to Abu Qir will have 20 stations, with 13 stations and 13·5 km being elevated.

Metro operations are to be managed by a private operator, which EBRD said would ’ensure a high standard of service’.

Technical support for project implementation and monitoring will be financed by the Netherlands, through the High Impact Partnership on Climate Action which is also supported by Austria, Finland, Switzerland, Taiwan and the UK. The EBRD SEMED Multi Donor Account backed by Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK supported the technical due diligence review.