Egypt's Sisi urges faster railway development to avoid deadly crashes

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-13 03:55:33|Editor: Mu Xuequan
Video PlayerClose

CAIRO, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi urged on Saturday the government to accelerate the development of the country's railway network to avoid deadly train crashes, the presidential spokesman said in a statement.

Sisi's remarks came during an evening meeting with Transport Minister Hesham Arafat, a day after a tragic two-train collision killed at least 49 and wounded more than 130 in the seaside northern city of Alexandria.

"The president gave instructions to form technical committees to evaluate the maintenance processes and specify the needed spare parts for the trains and and the railroad infrastructure," said Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef in the statement.

Sisi also ordered expansion of electric signaling systems to reduce reliance on human elements, limit similar accidents and step up measures for the passengers' safety.

For his part, Arafat said his ministry is working hard on railways upgrade, and any recent train delay or disorder would be investigated as soon as it happens.

Earlier on Saturday, Egypt's top prosecutor assigned a military engineering body to perform an on-the-spot technical railway check to examine the soundness of the railroad, the traffic light signals and semaphores and to issue a report on Friday's tragic accident.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Ministry said the two drivers of the twin trains have been held for questioning and four railway officials suspended over the tragedy.

Railway accidents have killed and wounded hundreds in Egypt over the past few years, but the deadliest took place in 2002 when 350 passengers were killed after fire broke out in a train from Upper Egypt.