By: Islam Atris
A high-ranking source within the Egyptian Railways Authority recently revealed that the French Thales Group company had won a bid to install electric signals along Egypt’s Cairo-Alexandria railway at an estimated cost of $270m. The Authority is set to fund the project through a recently obtained World Bank loan.
The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that construction of the project was set to begin next month. He added that a second bid would be held within the first half of the coming fiscal year to construct electric signals along the Beni Suef to Assiut railway line, at an estimated cost of $330m. The contract for the next project is set to be signed during the second half of the 2013/2014 fiscal year.
He added that 200 railway tracks along the Beni Suef to Assiut line had been selected for renovation by the Authority and that electric signals would be installed. Some of the selected tracks are along the maritime railway, while others are located on lines heading to Upper Egypt.
The source added that Egypt has so far only received $11m of the total $600m allotted to the country in a recent loan granted by the World Bank. This amount will cover only the cost of administrative expenses, with payment procedures on the part of the bank stalling transfer of the remaining funds.
Magdi Musa, Director of the Office of the President for the Egyptian Railways Authority, said that so far 46 railways had been developed and equipped with electric signals, at an estimated cost to the state of EGP 132.64m ($19.5m).
Hatim Abd al-Latif, Egypt’s Minister of Transportation, said plans had also been made to develop an additional 321 railway crossings at an estimated cost of EGP 400m ($58.8m) by the end of the year, as part of a plan to establish 550 crossings throughout the country by the end of the 2014/2015 fiscal year.