Initial results of an investigation into causes of the Badrashin train derailment suggested that the train track needs maintenance and renewal, Assistant Transport Minister Amr Shaat said on Saturday.
Shaat added that the train track is overused with dozens of trains passing everyday, as well as the signals system, which is outdated.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Hesham Arafat said on Saturday that the ministry already started developing the main train tracks, noting that the government cannot afford to improve the 5,200 km of tracks, the total distance of the Egyptian railway tracks, in one batch.
In a complementary probe into the causes of the latest train crisis, the prosecution ordered detaining the train driver, his assistant, and five other railway workers for four days pending investigations.
On Friday, a passenger train derailed on a railway track near Badrashin station close to Giza, injuring 58 commuters, but no fatalities were reported, according to the Ministry of Health.
Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek shortly ordered forming a technical committee of specialists of the armed forces and confiscating the black box to investigate and identify the cause of the accident.
Egypt’s railways have suffered for a long time from lacking any safety standards through successive governments. According to an official statement by the Egyptian National Railways and Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics in 2017, that 12,326 rail accidents took place from 2006 to 2017.
In August last year, 42 passengers, including women and children, were killed and more than 100 injured after a train coming from Cairo and another coming from Port Said collided in the Khurshid area in Alexandria.
“The government failed to reach a successful economic system to support improving Egypt railway without depending on the state budget,” Emad Nabil, an expert in transportation and railway affairs, told Daily News Egypt on Sunday.
Nabil added that successive governments had ambitious plans to develop the railway, but failed to achieve intended objectives because of lack of funding.
“The top priorities now are restructuring the whole railway system, through setting up a strong operation and maintenance plans, as well as replacing the old system with a central automatic one to avoid such accidents,” said Nabil, adding, “those procedures should come first before importing new train cars and tractors or renewal stations, which is important, too.”
Nabil moved on to say that to prevent more crises, the ministry could “completely halt operations in outdated tracks and railway crossings in overcrowded areas until the completion of maintenance operations.”
Nabil further suggested that seeking partnerships with private sectors could help to improve the whole sector in funding, developing, and operating.