Will Egypt be home to Africa’s first driverless metro?

Will Egypt be home to Africa’s first driverless metro?

Cairo Metro
Photo credit: Railway Technology

The hosting of COP27 in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resulted in a wealth of achievements and developments in multiple fields, including the launch of several large-scale projects, initiatives and investments.

One such achievement saw Egypt’s National Tunnel Authority (NAT) sign a framework agreement with Alstom, a world leader in smart and green mobility, for the design, construction and maintenance of Line 6 of the Cairo Metro: Africa’s first driverless metro line.

With a total of 27 stations, 12 underground, the 35 kilometer long line will run from north to south, stretching from New Maadi to Al-Khosous.

Alstom contract signing with NAT
Photo credit: Alstom

In line with Egypt’s 2030 vision to “provide a transport system that achieves sustainable development”, the trains will be 98 percent recyclable, designed to improve energy efficiency.

With an annual capacity of nearly 1.5 million passengers, Line 6 of the Cairo Metro will also reduce congestion on the heavily used Line 1. Each train will be built to carry up to 2,580 passengers during peak hours.

“We are proud of our partnership with the National Tunnels Authority and to be part of the growth and modernization of Egypt’s urban network. In 2019, the city’s CO2 emissions due to transport were about 22 million tonnes of CO2, representing 40 percent of Egypt’s total transport emissions This agreement, signed during COP27, demonstrates Egypt’s commitment to ensuring that Cairo is an inclusive, safe and resilient city “said Andrew DeLeone, President of Alstom in Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.

Although the date of construction and completion has not yet been announced, the new line will be operated locally. However, Alstom, which specializes in autonomous mobility with semi- or fully driverless transport, will be responsible for its maintenance.

Autonomous mobility or automatic train operation is an operational and safety improvement that makes railroads more efficient and reliable by removing the variables of guesswork and human error.

The Cairo Metro is currently being extended with a fourth line from the city’s 6 October to New Cairo, and a fifth line from Nasr City to the Sahel.

Despite the increase in metro ticket prices in recent years, Egyptians continue to rely on the metro as one of the most affordable modes of transport.

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