• Submission of interests closes on 21 November
  • Rail sector has struggled to obtain financing to upgrade its mainline railway
  • Several agreements mainly with government-backed Chinese contractors have been signed

The Egyptian National Railways (ENR) is seeking firms to provide consultancy services in the development of a reform strategy for its deteriorating railway sector.

Expressions of interest (EoI) for the project, to be financed by the World Bank, closes on 21 November.

Egypt has one of the oldest and longest rail networks in the region. The ENR, a division of the Transport Ministry, operates the country’s 9,750km mainline network, which comprises 705 stations and 885 bridges and tunnels.

The rail sector has struggled to secure financing for the improvement of its railway system. The World Bank has previously lent ENR $600m to rehabilitate existing tracks and upgrade signalling systems for some of its key tracks, the majority of which still utilise mechanical interlocking systems.

The Egyptian government has also recently signed agreements mainly with Chinese and Spanish firms for projects that include a 220km high-speed rail between Cairo and Alexandria and another high-speed rail network linking Cairo to Luxor, and Luxor to Hurghada.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) particularly for the Cairo-Alexandria scheme includes the provision of loans for these projects, which are currently proposed to be developed as long-term public-private partnership (PPP) projects.