History nearly repeats itself near Suez

 In Archive, Egypt

From Middle East Movers by Colonel Hugh MackintoshPerhaps officials are right to be extremely cautious about permitting train services to resume. The last thing they want is for anyone to be killed in a train wreck caused by ‘terrorism’, something known as a ‘spectacular’. It is quite possible that it has taken security officials this long (since 14th August) to put in place a massive security operation that will enable near-normal passenger train operations.

Most Egyptian and some pan-Arab media covered this story from yesterday, so what follows below is a composite from a few sources:

Security sources announced that Egyptian Army explosives experts defused a mortar and a hand grenade on the railway line linking Suez and Ismailiya in the Suez Canal Zone, an area that has seen bloody disturbances since the ousting of President Muhammed Morsi. They said the bomb was placed on the line at Abu Arif village and thought to be intended for a train that should have passed at 6am. However local inhabitants noticed it and immediately called the police.

[Note: There’s no station at Abu Arif so I can’t be precise about its location. Three trains are scheduled on the line at 6am: 100 and 102 northbound and 101 southbound]. See Table 4 of the 2013 timetable.

The location reminded me of the chequered railway history of the Suez Canal Zone, and I thought I’d use the excuse to post this photo from ‘Middle East Movers’.

If you have any stories about railways or the Middle East in general that you would like help to write or publish, please get in touch.

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