Egypt plans to complete railway system upgrade by 2022: ministry spokesman

Egypt hopes to complete a plan to modernise the country’s railway system infrastructure by 2022, Transport Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ezz said Sunday.

The upgrade plan will mainly involve boosting the manpower efficiency, improving maintenance standards, through increased engagement with the private sector, Ezz said in a telephone interview with local CBC television channel.

Two trains collided in Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria last Friday killing 42 people and injuring 133 others, the latest in a string of crashes on an antiquated transport network that have outraged the public.

Transport Minister Hisham Arafat said “human error” led to the deadly collision but did not elaborate. Later, head of Egypt’s railway authority, Medhat Shousha, had resigned.

Egyptians have long complained that successive governments have failed to enforce basic safeguards for the railways, journeys for millions of passengers on the country’s busy trains.

In 2012, a train rammed into a school bus south of Cairo and killed 50 people, mostly children.