Official: Renovating railway crossings would cost LE1.5 billion

Switching out manual railway crossings for new automated ones would cost the nation LE1.5 billion, Eid Hamed, the deputy director of the Egyptian National Railway Authority, said on Monday. 

A lack of funding and mistreatment of railway facilities at the local level hinder renovations, Hamed told Al-Masry Al-Youm. He urged the state to replace railroad track crossings with pedestrian bridges, which he claims would be the only solution to prevent accidents.

Hamed declined to assign blame for the deaths of 51 school children on Saturday when a train plowed into their bus at a railway crossing in Assiut, stating that prosecutors are currently investigating the accident.

He denied media reports stating that the railway authority had previously received complaints from workers at that railway crossing about malfunctions.

Relations between Prime Minister Hesham Qandil’s Cabinet and the railway services have been strained since the incident. Transportation Minister Mohamed Rashad al-Matiny resigned following the crash.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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