International

Head of Egypt’s railway authority resigns over fatal crash


CAIRO, Aug. 15 — The Egyptian transport minister accepted on
Sunday the resignation of the country’s railway authority chief over the
recent deadly train crash that killed at least 49, the Egyptian state TV
reported.

The resignation comes two days after two trains crashed on Friday
afternoon, leaving at least 49 passengers dead and over 130 wounded in the
coastal city of Alexandria north of the capital Cairo. Following a meeting
with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail in Cairo on Sunday, Transport Minister
Hesham Arafat also announced that his ministry is about to conclude a deal
with the Italian government to buy 1,000 train carriages, 100 of which will
be made in Italy and the rest will be manufactured in Egypt.

On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi urged in a meeting
with Arafat to accelerate the development process of the country’s railway
network to avoid deadly train crashes. Earlier in mid June, Egypt signed a
575-million-U.S. dollar agreement with U.S. giant company General Electric
(GE) to provide the country with 100 multi-use locomotives. According to
the deal, GE will also provide 15 years of technical support and spare
parts for the new locomotives as well as 81 other present trains. It will
also offer a training program for more than 275 Egyptian engineers and
technicians from the railway authority. The first shipment of 25
locomotives is expected to arrive in Egypt in 2018. Railway accidents
killed and wounded hundreds in Egypt over the past few years, the deadliest
was in 2002 when 350 passengers were killed after fire broke out in a train
coming from Upper Egypt.Another train tragedy hit the country in November
2012, when a train hit a school bus at a crossing barrier area in Upper
Egypt’s Assiut province, killing over 50 children.-XINHUA