Egypt Will Modernize Its Railways With $440M World Bank Loan

Egypt Will Modernize Its Railways With $440M World Bank LoanThe Egyptian National Railways network serves many low-income Egyptians with 60% of the lines concentrated in the Nile Delta. Image credit: Orhan Cam /

Forbes-The World Bank approved a $440 million loan in support of Egypt’s railway improvement project, which seeks to modernize signaling and upgrade performance of the Cairo-Giza-Beni Suef segment of its railway network, according to a statement by the bank.

Key facts

  • The Railway Improvement and Safety for Egypt (RISE) project costs a total of $681.1 million, and the remaining $241.1 million will be contributed by the Egyptian National Railways (ENR), according to the statement.
  • The funds will be put towards the enhancing the safety of the Cairo-Giza-Beni Suef segment, which constitutes 763 km out of ENR’s 5,000-km railway network.
  • The ENR network serves many low-income Egyptians with 60% of the lines concentrated in the Nile Delta.
  • The RISE project builds on the Egypt National Railways Restructuring Project (ENRRP), which was also financed by the World Bank, starting in 2009. The ENRRP focused on upgrading the signaling system of the Alexandria-Cairo and Beni Suef-Nag Hammadi segments. The project concluded in 2020.
  • This project will continue ENRRP’s works along the Alexandria-Cairo and Beni Suef-Nag Hammadi segments, while also focusing on track and signaling upgrades along the Cairo-Beni Suef segment.
  • It also aims to make ENR safer for both passengers and workers with an upgraded Safety Management System, as well as improve its service quality, estimating that 90% of trains will run on time, up from the current 75%.

Key background

In 2018, a World Bank report on Egypt highlighted the need for investment in infrastructure towards sustainable economic development, which underpins the RISE project.

The ENR network is one of the highest traffic density railways in the world, transporting 1.4 million passengers per weekday and logging in a total of more than 32 billion passenger-km per year in 2016/2017, according to the World Bank’s 2018 report. Passenger transport makes up a bulk of its output, with freight at marginal levels.

The dilapidated railway infrastructure has led to many serious accidents, estimated to be about 5 times more than those on European railways, according to findings by the European Union Agency for Railways.

In February 2019, a train crash in Cairo led to the death of 20 people.

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