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Egypt signs $4.45 bln contract for high-speed rail link

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Egypt has signed a $4.45 billion contract for development of a high-speed electric rail line that will link the Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts and be built with a consortium led by Siemens, a cabinet statement said on Wednesday.

The contract, signed between Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) and a consortium including Siemens Mobility, Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors will cover design, installation and maintenance of the rail link over 15 years.

The 660-km (410 miles) link will include a main line designed to carry more than 30 million passengers annually as well as a freight line, and will run between the Red Sea port of Ain Sokhna and the Mediterranean ports of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh.

Financial close on the contract is expected in 2022, Orascom said in a statement.

NAT and the consortium also agreed to discuss and finalise deals on two other high-speed rail links in Egypt, one running south from Cairo to Aswan, the other connecting the Nile city of Luxor to Hurghada and Safaga on the Red Sea, Orascom said.

The network will eventually extend to 1,825 kms, according to the cabinet.

Egypt has an extensive rail network but it has suffered from decades of underinvestment and has been plagued by accidents.