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Steel in the Sand: The history of Egypt and its railways

04 Nov 2003

Book review

By Gary Goldfinch

Egypt's railways stretch for 3500 km across the country, carrying over 2·25 million passengers every day. Railways have played a vital role in the country for 150 years, and this book provides an accessible and readable history of the development of both the rail network and modern Egypt.

The author does not consider the rail industry in isolation. 'Much of the history of Egypt is the result of gradual changes over long periods', he begins, and throughout the book the railways are described in the context of the political and economic circumstances of the societies in which they existed, from the days of the Ottoman empire through changes of government to the impact on public opinion of a series of high-profile accidents in the 1990s.

The Arabic-speaking author has drawn on his first-hand knowledge of living in Egypt and travelling extensively on its rail network, as well as research in both Cairo and London. The 86-page book is illustrated in black and white with modern and archive photographs of locomotives, stations, rolling stock and tickets, and a number of maps.

ISBN 1-900467-15-1. £14·95 plus postage.

Steel in the Sand, PO Box 344, Deal, Kent, CT14 9YF, UK.