Upgrade on track as Russian trains join Egypt rail fleet

The number of Russian railway cars that have reached the Egyptian Railway Authority has increased to 68, including the 33 that arrived in two batches weeks ago and are now operating. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 August 2020

Upgrade on track as Russian trains join Egypt rail fleet

  • Egypt’s rail authority confirmed that a new batch of Russian railway cars has been shipped
  • The new batch includes regular, dynamic-ventilated cars that will operate on main railways

CAIRO: Egypt’s rail authority confirmed that a new batch of Russian railway cars has been shipped as part of a contract with the Russian Transmashholding Company to provide 1,300 carriages.
The batch includes 35 carriages on board two ships that are expected to dock at Alexandria before the end of August.
With the arrival of this batch, the number of Russian railway cars that have reached the Egyptian Railway Authority has increased to 68, including the 33 that arrived in two batches weeks ago and are now operating.
The new batch includes regular, dynamic-ventilated cars that will operate on main railways, named “improved second class.”
According to plans, the batch is expected to enter service immediately after arrival and will form from three to four trains.
Mohamed Kamal, an Egyptian transport expert, said that with the arrival of the new batch of Russian railway cars in Egypt, the number of Russian trains operating on the lower and upper Egypt lines will increase to seven.
He explained that the plan is to receive new batches of 35 Russian cars every month, and to be in possession of over 240 new Russian railway carriages by the end of the year.
Kamal added that the cost of the 1,300 vehicles contracted with Russia is more than €1 billion ($1.2 billion) and is financed in the form of a soft loan in collaboration with the Russian Exim Bank. The Russian cars will operate on main lines only.
The agreement with the Russian-Hungarian alliance led by the Transmashholding Company includes the supply of the 1,300 vehicles.
The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 800 air-conditioned vehicles, including 500 air-conditioned third class carriages, which is a new service that is offered to passengers for the first time in the history of the Egyptian railways. The contract also includes 180 second-class air conditioned cars, 90 first-class air-conditioned cars and 30 air-conditioned buffet trolleys.
The rail authority began operating the first three Russian trains to join the fleet just before Eid Al-Adha, after President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi assigned them to transport passengers during the holidays.
The railway commissioned the trains to work on lines between Cairo to Alexandria as well as from Cairo to Aswan. The Russian train now operates alongside a fleet of Spanish, French, Romanian, German and Egyptian trains.


Algerian parliament vote ‘before year’s end’

Algerians walk across from the People's National Assembly (parliament) building during a voting session on constitutional reforms in the capital Algiers, on September 10, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2020

Algerian parliament vote ‘before year’s end’

  • The term of the widely discredited current lower house, elected in 2017, was originally set to end in May 2022

ALGIERS: The Algerian president says early legislative elections aimed at opening parliament to civil society will be held before the end of the year to give a new face to a parliament long dominated by a single party.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune did not set a date but indicated on Sunday evening that the parliamentary voting would follow a national referendum on a constitutional revision to be held Nov. 1, a highly symbolic date marking the start of this North African nation’s seven-year war with France for independence that began Nov. 1, 1954.
The next National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, which “will be made up of lawmakers from universities, civil society, will serve as the base of the ‘New Algeria,’” Tebboune said in an interview with two Algerian newspapers.
“If the people want change, it is time to work to not remain in the ambiguity that prevailed earlier.”
Tebboune was referring to the corruption that highlighted the 20 years of power of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, forced to resign in April 2019 amid growing peaceful street protests and a push from the then-Army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, who died in December.

If the people want change, it is time to work to not remain in the ambiguity that prevailed earlier.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Algeria

Tebboune was elected promising change, including a new parliament, though the vote was largely boycotted by the protest movement, the Hirak.
The term of the widely discredited current lower house, elected in 2017, was originally set to end in May 2022.
A new electoral law foreseen in the constitutional revision “will put in place safeguards to keep dirty money out of politics,” the president said, adding that with the constitutional revision Algeria would “truly be at the service of the citizen and not at the service of a group exercising domination.”
Numerous business leaders and two prime ministers have been jailed on corruption charges since the downfall of Bouteflika. During a trial last week, lawmaker Baha Eddine Tliba admitted to paying the former chief of the powerful FLN party Djamel Ould Abbas, to be placed on his list of candidates to ensure him a parliamentary seat.