Rumours are still flying about when and how many trains will appear on Egypt’s network, especially services south of Cairo. Although some Lower Egypt services were reinstated from Cairo last week, Upper Egypt services remain cancelled until the security authorities give the go-ahead. With no diversionary routes, lots of overnight services and many Egyptians still angry about the fate of former President Morsi, the security plan for this line must be a major logistical headache, and still incomplete. As has been said elsewhere around the world, those seeking to cause an incident only have to be lucky once, while those seeking to stop them have to be lucky every time. The following article is summarised from yesterday’s ‘Misrawi’:
ENR chairman Hussein Zakaria denied the reports circulating about Upper Egypt line services and said the security authorities had still not made any decisions about operating the line. Zakaria told ‘Misrawi’ on Monday that ENR was still awaiting security information, but could resume services at any time. Meanwhile, a source in the Transport Police said the intention was to resume train services to coincide with the end of the curfew and the first dates of former President Mohammed Morsi’s trial. The source added that the Interior Ministry had put a plan in place to safeguard the roads and railways in Upper Egypt against any acts of ‘sabotage’, with a heavy security presence in stations and trains. He explained that protecting the Upper Egypt line required considerable effort and a well-coordinated security plan given the line’s long distances and journeys (eg Cairo to Aswan is 14 hours). A number of reports have put the losses so far caused by the recent disruption to ENR as EGP 550 million.
There was speculation last week, for example in last Thursday’s almasry alyoum, that ENR would run a skeleton ‘experimental’ service between Wasta and Fayoum, among others.