Egypt National Railways (ENR) has signed three separate contracts with US-based GE for the supply of 100 new locomotives, maintenance of 81 old locomotives and a 15-year technical support agreement.

Combined, the three contracts are estimated to have a total value of $575m.

According to a source familiar with the transaction, 85 per cent of the value of the contracts will be funded by an international bank, while the rest will be funded by the Egyptian government.

MEED understands that the first 25 locomotives are expected to be delivered in 2018.

Acquiring new locomotives is in line with Egypt’s plan to reform its ageing rail sector, increase fleet availability and improve operational efficiencies.

Future plans for the country’s mainline rail include the separation of freight operations and the introduction of track-access charges, which will provide a framework for future private sector involvement in the railway market.

In August, more than 50 people were killed and more than 100 injured when a train from Cairo headed to Alexandria rammed into a stationary train en route to Alexandria from Port Said.

The accident triggered the removal from office of ENR head Hanafy Abdel- Qawi. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.