Siemens Desiro HC for Egypt test ride

EGYPT: Siemens Mobility presented one of the 94 Desiro HC electric multiple-units that it is supplying for Egypt to the international press at its Wegberg-Wildenrath Test & Validation Centre on May 8.

A consortium of Siemens, Orascom Construction and The Arab Contractors was awarded a turnkey contract in May 2022 to develop a ‘Suez Canal on tracks’ network. This covers design, construction, commissioning and 15 years of maintenance of three electrified lines totalling 2 000 km. Designed for 250 km/h operation, these routes are also intended to carry regional passenger trains and freight traffic.

Siemens Desiro HC for Egypt test ride photos Benjámin Zelki (7)

Siemens Mobility is supplying 41 eight-car Velaro trainsets to operate the high speed services, plus 94 four-car 160 km/h Desiro HC regional EMUs for conventional stopping services and 41 Vectron electric locomotives to haul freight services.

The Desiro HC EMU is based on the design in use since 2018 on the Rhein-Ruhr Express network in Germany. The Egyptian EMUs are being built to be desert-proof.

Siemens Desiro HC for Egypt

Five of the Desiro HC EMUs have already been completed, and the first was delivered to the port of Alexandria last September.

The first Velaro high speed trainset is planned to be delivered at the end of this year.

Cairo – Alexandria priority

Egyptian railway project map

Talking to Railway Gazette International at the launch event, Peter Papert, Consortium Director of the High Speed Rail Project at Siemens Mobility Egypt, said that two of the high speed rail lines are currently under construction, totalling 1 760 km.

The 660 km Green Line is being between between Mersa Matruh on the Libyan border and Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea via Alexandria and Cairo, while the 1 100 km Blue Line is being built between Cairo and Abu Simbel near the border with Sudan, closely following the River Nile.

A third line is planned to run 225 km to connect Luxor with Hurghada and Safaga on the Red Sea.

Siemens Desiro HC for Egypt

‘Works are underway in the Cairo area, going towards the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and along the Nile. The priority is to complete the sections around Cairo with special regards to the line to Alexandria, with which we can cover a population of 26 million alone’, Papert said.

Civil works on the Green Line are ‘well advanced’, while on the Blue Line, construction is underway on around 40% to 50% of the future alignment according to Papert.

‘One of the most challenging parts of the works is to build three bridges on the River Nile, two on the Blue Line and one on the Green Line’, Papert said. The largest hub will be the New Administrative Capital station which will offer interchange between the future high speed rail network and various light rail, metro and monorail routes.

Siemens’ share of the contract is €8·1bn. Apart from the supply of rolling stock, it also covers railway system works including the delivery of the electrification systems, ETCS Level 2 and the manufacturer’s Railigent asset management tool. Siemens is also responsible for overall project management, consortium leadership, and the delivery of an automatic fare collection platform.

Independently operated network

Siemens Desiro HC for Egypt

The new network is to be operated independently from Egyptian National Railways’ existing main lines. The operator of the new routes would be responsible for provision of high speed and conventional stopping passenger services, which would run in the day, as well as freight services, which would operate largely at night.

Papert said that while the operating contracts for the whole network had yet to be finalised, it was ‘most likely’ that the remaining sections would be run by Deutsche Bahn International Operations and a local partner. In November 2022, DB IO and Elsewedy Electric were awarded a 15-year contract to operate and maintain the Green Line.