With a population of approximately 17 million, Cairo is one of the most densely populated cities in Africa. Its railway system, operated by Egyptian National Railways (ENR), transports nearly 500 million passengers and 12 million tons of freight each year.
Cairo Metro is the first metro network in Africa and has been operational since 1990. The network consists of two lines, and a further two are planned.
Lines and routes
Line 1 was completed in 1987, is 42.5km long with 33 stations. It covers the Egyptian capital from the north to the south.
Line 2, was built in two phases, one in 1997 and the other in 2004. It is 21km-long and serves 20 stations from the north to the south-west, covering the district of Shubra and the pyramids of Giza.
Line 3 will be 33km-long with 29 stations, 27 of which will be underground. The line will connect Cairo Airport in the east to Imbaba and Mohandisseen in the west, crossing the downturn area and Heliopolis. The Mohandisseen area will be connected to the main line going to Imbaba.
Line 4 is expected to operate between Haram District in the east and New Cairo district in the west.
Construction of Line 3 began in 2007 to accommodate the ever-growing population of Cairo. The construction, to be carried out in five phases, is scheduled to be completed by the late 2019. On completion, the capacity of the line is estimated to be 1.8 million passengers a day.
The construction of Phase I began in July 2007, and was completed in 2011. It was officially opened in February 2012.
The contract was awarded to a consortium led by Vinci Construction Grand Projects, a French construction company. Vinci Construction, which holds a 28.5% stake in the consortium, was given the civil engineering package of the contract in January 2007. Other parties in the consortium include Arab Contractors (27.5%), Bouygues (26%) and local company Orascom Construction Industries (18%).
Approximately 60% of Phase I was completed by 2009. Roughly 8.3m of the tunnel’s diameter was completed. A tunnel boring machine (TBM) was used to carry out the construction work. This TBM, named Cleopatra, is speedier than other machines and reduces pollution caused from sound and debris. The tunnel required 2,800 rings, for which 22,400 voussoirs were used. Each voussoir is 1.5m long and weighs 5.7t.
Phase II of Line 3 began in May 2009. It comprises different packages for civil, electromechanical and railway works. The 7.2km segment of Line 3 was completed in May 2014, five months ahead of schedule.
The contract for civil engineering works was awarded to Vinci for €323m, while Orascom Construction was awarded contracts worth $140m for civil, electromechanical and railway works.
Vinci Construction Grand Projects received a €40m contract from the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) to extend Phase II of Line 3, in February 2013. Under the contract, 680m of tunnel extension between the Al Ahram and Haroun stations, as well as the civil engineering at the Haroun station, were completed within 17 months.
Orascom was also responsible for the construction work related to the railway tracks in a joint venture with Eurovia Travaux Ferroviaires (ETF), for a contract valued at approximately $24m. This package included supplying and laying 11km of track and power rail in the tunnel.
Line 4 will be assembled in four phases. The construction is yet to begin and the line will become fully operational by 2020.
Line 3 infrastructure
A major part of the Line 3 will be underground. The cut-and-cover method is being adopted to build the stations.
Covering the central section, Phase I included the construction of a 4.2km tunnel, five underground stations and a repository for rolling stock. The five stations, namely Attaba, Bab el Shaaria, El Geish, Abdou Pasha and Abbasia, will each be 150m-long and located at a depth between 14m and 58m. The tunnel has a diameter of 9.4m.
Phase II extends the underground line eastwards from Abbasiya to Al Ahram (Heliopolis). It comprises 7.2km of railway track, including 4km of underground tunnel. The line connects five stations.
Phase III will cover the western section of the underground line. The total length of the line will be 7.5km. It will connect Attaba station with already existing Abdel Nasser Station and a new station at Maspero, finishing at Sphinx Square Station. After a year’s delay, construction finally began in 2012 and is estimated to be completed in four years.
Phase IV will cover the eastern section of the line between Al Akram and Cairo International Airport. It will be 11km long and is expected to be completed in four years. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015 and be completed by 2019.
The line will begin at Sphinx Square Station and split into two branches. The first will head towards Imbaba, passing through stations at Kit Kat and Sudan Street. The other branch will head towards Mohandessin and will stop at three stations at Mustafa Mahmoud Station, Shehab Street Station and Lebanon Square Station.
Phase V is the final phase of Line 3, serving seven new stations. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015.
The rolling stock for the line is being supplied by Mitsubishi. A third rail will be used to feed the rolling stock by power. Mitsubishi is supplying 460 rail road cars that transport two million passengers every day.
Signalling and communications
The signalling and telecommunications system is provided by a consortium led by Alstom Equipment. The total value of the signalling and telecommunications contract is €29.8m.
Other parties in the consortium include the Thales Group and Orascom. For the stations, Alstom will provide URBALIS 200 integrated signalling and train-control information system. It will include a control system, switches and signalling equipment.
The automatic train control and interlocking is provided by Alstom Units in France, while the locally manufactured products, including the automatic train supervision, are provided by CASCO, who will also overlook some of the integration work. ALSTOM Transport Service Shanghai is providing local services for the project.
Construction of Line 4 is yet to begin, but the line will only become operational only after the completion of the third phase of Line 3 in October 2016. The route will begin at El-Malek El Saleh station on Line 1 and end at October-Oasis Highway station. It will also pass through Giza station on Line 2.
Construction of Phase II is scheduled to begin in 2015 and end in 2019. It will connect El-Malek-El-Saleh station with 6th District Station in the Nasr City.
Phase III will run between 6th District Station and Makram Ebeid Station.
Phase IV will be the final stage of construction, linking Makram Ebeid to Mubarak Police Academy station. The construction is expected to begin in 2017 and end in 2020.
The extension of Line 1 to make it more flexible is planned by shifting the northern terminals of Cairo Metro Line 1 from El Marg station to New El Marg station.
By 2020, Cairo Metro is expected to carry five million passengers a day. By this time it is expected to add two more lines. Line 5 will be 20km long, connecting Nasr city to Port Said Street. It will be a half-circular line connecting to the other lines. The 19km-long Line 6 will extend from north south Shubra to Maadi.