The consortium, which also includes ACE, Egypt, and French company Egis and its subsidiary Projacs, will cover the preliminary design of the project, the preparation and evaluation of tender documents, and supervision of works on behalf of NAT.

Rehabilitation of the 1435mm-gauge line is expected to be carried out over approximately 34 months, including a design phase of around 10 months and an implementation phase of at least two years.

Work will include the removal of one existing branch and relocation of some stations, the construction of footbridges, the installation of electronic signalling and the complete renewal of the rolling stock. The line, which opened in the 1860s, was last modernised in the 1960s.

The upgrades are expected to reduce end-to-end journey times between Raml and Victoria by half, while tripling capacity and improving comfort on services for the city’s 5.2 million inhabitants. The improvements are intended to encourage greater use of public transport and reduce congestion in the city.

The project will be partially funded through a €100m loan from the French Development Agency (AFD) agreed in May 2017 and a €180m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved in July, alongside a contribution of €80m from Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation.