Egypt s Transport Minister Kamel El-Wazir witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Egyptian National Railway (ENR) and the Spanish company Thales in Spain on Wednesday 29 September, 2021 . (Photo courtesy of Transport Ministry)
Transport Minister Kamel El-Wazir attended the event which saw Chairman of the Board of Directors of ENR Mostafa Abdel-Latif Abul-Makarem and CEO of Thales Spain Jesús Sánchez sign the MoU.
The MoU is meant to study the implementation of the duplication and development of the railway signalling and communication systems on the 65km long Qalyoub-Shebin El-Qanater-Zagazig line, read a Transport Ministry statement.
As per the deal, Thales will help upgrade the central control tower in Shebin El-Qanater to coordinate train traffic along the entire line from Qalyoub to Shebin El-Qanater, the statement added.
El-Wazir, who is on an official visit to Spain, said projects are underway to modernise the signalling systems of the 1,900km long railway network, at a total cost of EGP 50 billion, to improve railway safety and security.
The minister also attended the signing of a MoU to modernise the 94km long Qalyoub-Menouf-Tanta line that guarantees railway operators SIL4 fail-safe automatic track occupancy detection directly at the trackside.
As part of the ENR Signalling Modernisation project, the existing mechanical signalling systems are being replaced with Thales' Electronic Interlocking System (EIS) across two of the ENR’s heavily used lines, the 208km long Cairo-Alexandria and 250km long Assiut-Naga Hamadi.
On Tuesday, El-Wazir inspected the Talgo factory in Madrid and followed up on the train manufacturing line. The minister was also briefed on the maintenance work that will be carried out by the Spanish manufacturer in Egypt according to its contract with the ENR.
Spanish train manufacturer Talgo had said on that day that it would ship the first of the six trains agreed upon with Egypt’s ENR by mid-November, according to a separate statement by the ministry.
Egypt has adopted a plan to overhaul the entire railway system in the country and replace old rail vehicles with upgraded or new ones by the end of 2021.
The plan includes upgrading railway signalling systems for higher safety, improving workshops and supplying them with modern equipment, and installing automatic train control with a speed control mechanism in response to emergencies.
Railway lines in recent years have witnessed numerous train accidents, with dozens killed this year due to separate incidents in different governorates.
In April, El-Wazir said a total of EGP 1.7 billion had been spent to develop the country’s railway stations.