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French co-operation to rehabilitate Alexandria’s Ramlh line

The oldest tram system in Africa – and one of the oldest in the world – the Blue Tram is one of only three to still feature double-deck trams in regular passenger operation. (Image courtesy: WrightBus / CC-BY-3.0)

On 16 May Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Co-operation signed an agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD) for a EUR100m contribution to the EUR360m project to rehabilitate Alexandria’s Ramhl tramline. EUR180m is being sourced from the European Investment Bank with EUR80m coming from the ministry.

Also known as the Blue Tram, the 11km (6.8-mile) Ramhl line will see its east-west route reconfigured with traffic light priority to halve the current journey time to 30 minutes, the AFD claims. Stops will be upgraded with new shelters, seating and ticket machines and the line’s vehicles will be overhauled. There will also be a 900m (0.6-mile) extension from Al-Raml Square to Ahmed Orabi Square in Al Manshiya.

The three-year programme will eventually double capacity from today’s 100 000 daily passengers to 230 000, the ministry claims, adding that development will later focus on the the city’s other, more extensive, network that connects the city centre with the western suburbs.

Egypt’s second-largest city has a population of 4.5 million and relies solely on above-ground means of transportation, with a reported 12% of the city’s daily commuters according to the AFD.