Orascom Construction consortium signs second phase of Egypt’s high-speed rail

Move will bring the total network size to almost 2,000km, creating the world’s sixth-largest high-speed rail system

The contract signing was witnessed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Essam Waly, chairman of NAT, German Ambassador Frank Hartmann and Siemens Mobility chief executive Michael Peter. Photo: Siemens
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Egypt-based contractor Orascom Construction and its consortium partners Siemens Mobility and The Arab Contractors have signed a contract with the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) to expand the network of Egypt’s new high-speed rail system to 2,000 kilometres.

The consortium had signed the first phase of the network covering a 660km line in September 2021. The second phase, signed on Sunday, comprises two new lines for a total length of 1,325km. This brings the total network size to almost 2,000km and creates the sixth-largest high-speed rail system worldwide, Orascom Construction said in a statement.

Orascom Construction’s share of the second phase is $1.2 billion, which brings the company’s total share of all three lines to $1.8bn.

Siemens Mobility’s share of the combined contract is €8.1bn ($8.7bn), the German transport company said in a separate statement.

The project is set to elevate Egypt’s entire infrastructure, industrial and tourism sectors, said Osama Bishai, chief executive of Orascom Construction. “Our involvement in this landmark project reaffirms our position as a leading partner of choice not only on transportation projects, but also on mega projects as a whole.”

The Arab world’s most populous country has undertaken the high-speed rail project as part of wider plans to upgrade its overcrowded transport network, protect the environment, create jobs, and develop its economy.

Egypt’s high-speed rail system, which will serve passengers and freight, will connect cities, seaports, dry ports, archaeological sites and tourist destinations all over the country. It will also enable the development of multiple sectors across the whole economy.

The consortium will design, install, commission and maintain the high-speed rail system for 15 years.

The total network will consist of three lines. The first line, covering 660km, will connect Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea to Alamein City and Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean. The second line will stretch across 1,110km and run between Greater Cairo and Abu Simbel near the southern border, passing through Luxor and Aswan. The third line will cover about 215km through Luxor, Safaga and Hurghada by the Red Sea, Orascom Construction said.

The 2,000km network will connect 60 cities throughout the country, with trains that can operate at up to 230km per hour. This will result in approximately 90 per cent of Egyptians having access to the integrated rail system, Siemens said.

“It is the biggest order in the history of Siemens,” said Roland Busch, president and chief executive of Siemens. “The opportunity to provide Egypt with a modern, safe and affordable transportation system that will transform the everyday [experience] for millions of Egyptians, create thousands of local jobs and reduce CO2 emissions in transport, is an honour for us.”

The consortium is expected to directly create more than 40,000 jobs in Egypt, with an additional 6,700 at Egyptian suppliers and indirectly through the wider Egyptian economy, the two companies said. The result will be a sustainable and efficient transportation system that cuts carbon emissions by 70 per cent.

The contract signing was witnessed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Essam Waly, chairman of NAT, German Ambassador Frank Hartmann and Siemens Mobility chief executive Michael Peter.

Updated: May 29, 2022, 6:39 PM