You probably know that Mohammad Ali Pacha back in 1833 wanted to build a railway to connect Cairo and Suez to improve the trade and better connect Europe with India, but the project slept because the French wanted to push ahead for the Suez Canal project.
However after his death, Khedive Abbas contracted Robert Stevenson to build Egypt’s first standard gauge railway. The first section, between Alexandria and Kafr Ezzayat was opened in 1854. This was the first railway in the Ottoman Empire, Africa and the Middle East.
Now, let me spare you a long history that is available on the web, and have a look at this reminder From BikyaMASR website:
Following Saturday’s devastating train incident in Assiut, which left at least 50 people dead, mainly young schoolchildren, the state of Egyptian trains are again coming under review. Below is a short timeline of major train crashes in the country (recent listed first):
1. November 17, 2012: At least 50 people, mainly schoolchildren are killed when a train near Assiut slams into a school bus.
2. November 10, 2012: Three people killed in incident near Fayoum, an hour south of Cairo.
3. July 2012: A train crash took place in Egypt’s Badrasheen area of Giza when the first train arriving from Upper Egypt’s city of Assuit went off the tracks and hit a parked train at the Badrasheen railway station on its way to Cairo. An unkown number killed
4. October 25, 2009: Collision at Al-Ayyat in Giza, 50 kilometers (31 mi) south of Cairo. According to security officials, an initial report stated that 30 people were suspected killed and 50 injured.
5. September 4, 2006: A passenger train collides with a freight train north of Cairo, killing five and injuring 30.
6. August 21, 2006 Qalyoub rail crash: Two trains collide in the town of Qalyoub, 20 kilometers (12 mi) north of Cairo, killing 57 people and injuring 128.
7. February 20, 2002 Al Ayatt train disaster: A train packed to double capacity catches fire, at least 373 are killed, although most observers say this figure is most likely much higher due to over packing into the carriages.
8. 1998: Kafr Al-Dawar accident: “dozens” killed. Numbers unknown.
9. 1992: head-on collision at Al-Badrashin: 43 killed.
While this list is not inclusive of all accidents, these are the major incidents in the past 20 years. According to a 2010 report published by the Safe Transportation Unit of the Egyptian National Railways, only “18 percent” of trains were safe for travel.
Having said that, I think that the speed by which the General Prosecutor is bringing the Minister of Transportation or the President of Egypt National Railways Authority to trial for “Negligence and Manslaughter” is just a political demagogic tact, destined to absorb some of the boiling civil volatile emotions, and not to find some radical solutions for that chronic problem of unsafe public transportation.
Where was he, as all those who are carrying the revolutionary flag today, when all the avalanches of funds, coming from USAID, IMF, EUC and other “benefactors”, were used to accommodate very few selected private interests instead of guaranteeing some ‘PUBLIC’ good???!!!!
Instead of bleeding valuable substantial sums of money to put some supersonic trains on the actual rusty rails, it would have been more productive investing such amounts in serious training programs, in installing modern technology signalisations and automatic barring for crossings and crossroads, security and mid-term renewal of the national railways net, and also the continuous maintenance and updating of all that.. In brief, what should have been done ages ago.
Compensating the victimised families with any fortunes won’t wipe their tears or calm their anger.. Guaranteeing their security would.Pass On The Word.