Cairo: French company NGE announced Thursday it had been awarded a contract to build Egypt’s first high-speed rail link, a 330km section connecting the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts.
The link will form the first section of a 660km line that will extend west along the Mediterranean coast to Marsa Matrouh towards the Libyan border.
NGE said it would take 19 months to complete construction of the section between Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea coast and Borg El Arab near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria via the New Administrative Capital, just east of Cairo.
Egypt’s population of more than 104 million people relies heavily on the railways for intercity transport but the existing network has been plagued by accidents blamed on ageing infrastructure.
In September 2021, Egypt signed a $4.45-billion contract with a consortium of Egyptian and German companies, led by Arab Contractors, Orascom and Siemens, to design, implement and maintain the line between Ain Sokhna and Marsa Matrouh.
It is one of a number of marquee construction projects announced by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi since he took office in 2014.
NGE is already, in cooperation with other companies, working on expanding and refurbishing the metro in Cairo, a megacity of more than 20 million people.
Sisi has also championed plans for the New Administrative Capital. In 2019, Canadian manufacturing group Bombardier announced it had signed a multi-billion-dollar agreement to build two automated monorail lines linking Greater Cairo with the NAC.