EGYPTIAN National Railways (ENR) has signed a contract with a consortium of Thales and its local partner Orascom Construction to upgrade and resignal the 115km double-track main line from Cairo to Giza and Beni Suef.

Work is due to be completed within five years. The contract is worth €300m and includes a two-year guarantee as well as maintenance over a period of five years.

To improve safety and service reliability on the line, where train movements are currently controlled by 17 signalboxes, Thales will supply new electronic interlockings and a control centre.

It will also upgrade telecommunications systems and deploy robust measures to ensure cybersecurity is maintained.

The contract has been awarded under the $US 681.1m Railway Improvement and Safety for Egypt (Rise) project, which is being funded by a $US 440m loan from the World Bank and a $US 241.1m contribution from ENR.

The project is intended to support work to enhance ENR’s performance and competitiveness, improving passenger and employee safety by introducing an upgraded safety management system and increasing train punctuality from 75% to 90%.

The World Bank says that Rise will cover a total of 763km, also continuing work carried out on the Cairo - Alexandria and Beni Suef - Nag Hammadi lines under the earlier Egypt National Railways Restructuring Project (ENRRP).

ENR awarded Thales a contract to replace mechanical signalling on the Alexandra - Cairo route in 2013. The supplier says that it is currently working on the Asyut - Nagh Hammadi project in Upper Egypt.

“This new stage in our partnership with ENR marks an important milestone in modernising Egypt’s railway network,” says Mr Alessio Bencivenni, director of ground transportation systems at Thales Egypt.

“Innovation and collaboration will enable us to improve punctuality, increase profitability and boost the capacity of the railway network, which will stimulate economic growth and improve connectivity.”

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