Cairo monorail nears completion

01 December 2023
The $4.5bn project has been delivered during significant global disruption


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The Greater Cairo Monorail project, one of Egypt’s most significant infrastructure developments, is advancing towards completion.

The $4.5bn project, led by Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), aims to improve Cairo’s transportation network by linking the old city centre with the New Administrative Capital.

The monorail encompasses two main lines: a 54-kilometre line connecting East Cairo to the New Administrative Capital and a 43km line from 6 October City to Giza. The system is designed to handle 45,000 passengers an hour in each direction.

Canada’s Bombardier, later acquired by France’s Alstom, along with Egyptian companies Arab Contractors and Orascom Construction, was awarded a $4.16bn contract for the design and construction of the monorail in 2019.

In September 2020, US-based Hill International and another US firm, HJI Group, were appointed to provide project management and design review services.

Global disruption

Global events created major challenges for the project, according to Waleed Abdel-Fatteh, Hill International’s president for the Middle East and North Africa region.

“The impact of Covid-19 is still being felt in the project due to the commodity price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions during the period,” he says.

“The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has further affected supply chain and logistics, while the ongoing exchange rate fluctuations present a definitive stress on project finance for all stakeholders.

“NAT is actively working with the contractors to ensure smooth construction of the lines despite these challenges,” he says.

Over 90 per cent of the engineering for the project has now been completed. Civil works for the East of Nile (EoN) Line are 75 per cent finished and guideway beam construction is 90 per cent done. Station construction stands at 45 per cent complete.

The depot for the EoN Line is also progressing rapidly and is around 70 per cent complete.

All 40 of the trainsets for the EoN Line have been delivered. “Static tests on the trains have started in the EoN depot. With the construction substantially progressed, power cables are finally being installed to form the power ring main in the EoN Line,” says Abdel-Fatteh.

“Installation of signalling and communications equipment has also started in several stations. One of the highlights of the WoN Line is the installation of a long span in 6 October City’s Juhayna Square.”

The West of Nile (WoN) Line reports 52 per cent overall construction completion, with progress initially slowed due to land acquisition issues.

Next steps

The following six months are crucial for the project.

“The next six months will see the completion of works in all line segments of the EoN Line and in the seven line segments of the WoN Line,” says Abdel-Fattah.

“Power-on of the systems may happen in the next few weeks, depending on a review by the local electricity authorities. This will be the formal start of the testing and commissioning phase of the EoN Line.

“The WoN Line will see the completion of depot construction and the start of major installation activities up to station 7, and significant progress is expected in Zone 4 line segments and stations.”

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