The government has executed a comprehensive plan to develop the first and second metro lines at a cost of roughly LE38 billion to improve services.
The plan included developing metro line trains and infrastructure. When it opened in 1988, the first line of the underground metro was dubbed the ‘fifth pyramid’ for its being a breakthrough in transport engineering.
The government has signed a raft of deals with global corporations to purchase new rolling stock that were installed on the first and second lines, in addition to revamping the existing trains.
Overall plan to expand Underground
The state has devised a comprehensive plan that Greater Cairo will have six metro lines by 2030, within the framework of Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy.
Around 4 million Cairenes use the metro every day. Launched in 1987, the metro has since become the most important means of transport in Cairo.
Line 1 is the oldest line of the Cairo Metro with its first 29-kilometre segment having opened in 1988. The line, which stretches from Helwan to Ramses Square, is 44.3-kilometre long and serves 35 stations.
Line 2 is 21.6-kilometre and it serves 20 stations, of which 12 are underground. Line 2 uses the third rail electrification system instead of the overhead line used in the first line.
According to the National Tunnels Authority, work is in full swing on the third, fourth and sixth lines of the metro.
Line 3 is part of the Greater Cairo Metro project that passes from Embaba to El-Mohandiseen, passing under the Nile up to Zamalek district and Attaba.
The expansion of the metro network in Cairo required adherence to environmental and social safeguards, which incorporated inclusive stakeholder engagement. The expansion also created training and employment opportunities for young people.
The Cairo Metro (Underground), Africa’s first urban railway, owned by the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), a government agency set up by the Ministry of Transport in 1983, is operated by the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operations (ECM). It was built toserve commuters, reduce road congestion and be the centre of a modern, integrated and efficient public transport system.
The Metro has three lines. Line 1 opened in 1987, and Line 2 was completed nine years later in 1996. The construction of Line 3 began in 2006.
Line 3 is being built in four phases. Phase I opened in 2012 and Phase II welcomed its first passengers in 2014. Phase III is still under construction and is due for completion in 2024. There are future plans for a fourth phase, as well as two new lines.
When it is complete, Line 3 will be the first metro line to cross Cairo, linking the east and west of the city. In the third phase of construction, the existing infrastructure is being extended to the west by 17.7 kilometres (km). The project is a key component of the Greater Cairo Transport Master Plan because it will provide two densely populated, socially disadvantaged districts (Imbaba and Boulak El Dakrour) with safe and reliable access to the city centre and central business districts.
Line 3 – Phase III is developed under the ownership of NAT, with international funding from the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement), and co-financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
New rolling stock
Meanwhile, the Ministry of International Co-operation recently signed a $460 million deal with the Korean Economic Development Co-operation Fund (EDCF) to implement a project for co-manufacturing and providing trains for Cairo underground metro lines 2 and 3.
Under the agreement, the Korean government, represented by the EDCF, will provide $460 million out of the total project cost of $656 million, according to the South Korean Embassy.The deal is related to an agreement signed a year ago with the Korean company Hyundai Rotem. In August 2022, the NAT signed a $656 million deal with the Korean manufacturer and supplier of railway systems to locally produce and import 320 new air-conditioned metro carriages by 2028.
The Egyptian government is executing a number of projects to construct a network of tunnels and electrical tractions, at a total length of 2,200km and a total cost of LE757 billion by 2024.
A 250km per hour electric-train network is planned with a total length of 1,795km and costing LE360 billion. Consisting of four lines, the network is set to be implemented within two years.
Its 460km first line, due to be completed in 2023 at a cost of LE100 billion, has 15 stations and will run from Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea to New Alamein City on the Mediterranean coast, passing through the New Administrative Capital and Borg Al-Arab city.
The second line will link the Red Sea’s main port with the port of Alexandria and the port of Matrouh Gargoub. The third will connect Hurghada and Safaga on the Red Sea with Qena and Luxor. The last will link 6 October City with Luxor and Aswan.
Two monorail lines are also in the process of construction. When they are complete, a commuter will be able to take the monorail from 6 October City to Mohandessin, a 42km ride, then change to the third metro line and travel to Cairo Stadium, and then take the second monorail east through Tagammu to the New Administrative Capital, a 56km ride.
The first monorail starts from the Nasr City district with a length of 56.5km, containing 22 stations. The second goes from 6 October city and has a length of 42km and 12 stations. They will have a total cost of roughly €2.7 billion, and there are maintenance contracts for a period of 30 years’ worth around €1.6 billion.
BRT, LRT on the way
Meanwhile, one hundred electric buses of Egyptian manufacture will soon be operating on the 110-kilometre Greater Cairo Ring Road.
According to an official statement, the eco-friendly fleet for the bus rapid transit (BRT) system will cost LE680 million as per a recent contract between Arab Union Land Transport and Tourism Company (Super Jet), affiliated to the Transport Ministry and the Armoured Vehicles Production and Repair Factory (Factory 200 Military) under the National Authority for Military Production.
The contract marks a breakthrough in electric bus manufacture in Egypt, Minister of Transport Kamel el-Wazir said in recent remarks, adding that his ministry will complete bus stops for phase one of the BRT system and embark on Ring Road development phase two, when 200 electrically-driven buses will be operating, serving 25 million people from 47 stops.
The €2.7 billion monorail lines in the New Administrative Capital and 6 October City and the light rail transit (LRT) are among other clean-energy transport projects this country has undertaken.
All these projects are being carried out in parallel to the completion of the underground metro network in Greater Cairo.
This includes the completion of the third underground line with a length of 41.2km and a cost of roughly LE97 billion, the first phase of the underground’s fourth line (6 October to the Al-Ashgar district) with a length of 19km and costing LE70 billion, and the implementation of the sixth line (New Maadi to Al-Khosous) with a length of 30km and a cost of LE73.4 billion.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi last year opened the first phase of the country’s first light rail trail (LRT) and its starting point — the Adly Mansour Interchange Station — which will connect the New Administrative Capital (NAC) with the rest of the country’s cities and governorates.The first stage of the LRT comprises 12 stations, including Adly Mansour, Badr City, the Culture and Arts City in the NAC, and New Obour.
The 1.1 million square metre central Adly Mansour station, the largest in the Middle East, includes seven transport modes — namely the Cairo-Suez Railway Line, Cairo Metro’s third line, the LRT, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System, and the SuperJet buses that run along three lines nationwide.
The station was built as part of the country’s efforts to upgrade its transport sector and encourage citizens to depend on environmentally friendly means of mass transportation.
The station, named after the country’s former interim president Adly Mansour (2013-2014), includes a full-service transportation complex and a commercial investment zone on a total area of 15 feddans.
The LRT’s carriages offer a high level of railway security for commuters and feature WiFi services and on-board displays.
The LRT is a sustainable means of green mass transportation since it runs on electricity instead of diesel. The 22 trains of the LRT also include seats allocated for people with special needs.