An international delegation has swapped the sand dunes of Egypt for the seven hills of Sheffield to visit local heavy lifting manufacturer, Mechan.

Representatives from Cairo Metro’s Line Three and the Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels visited Mechan to see the rail depot handling system commissioned for the project in action.

Mechan’s bogie-changing equipment has been ordered by the French arm of transport infrastructure specialists, Alstom, who are working on phase one of the Cairo Metro Line Three. Now the Egyptian and French contingent has seen the machine pass its factory acceptance test, it is being disassembled and transported to Cairo, where Mechan’s engineers will carry out the installation.

The equipment will enable bogies, undercar apparatus and wheelsets to be exchanged on rail vehicles scheduled to run on Cairo Metro’s Line Three. The apparatus is latched into place on a track in the maintenance depot so it can lift and support the rail car’s weight. This allows the bogie to be removed and repairs to be made to the underside of the vehicle from a maintenance pit in the depot floor.

Richard Carr, Mechan’s managing director, said: “Despite the cold weather, we provided the representatives from Egypt and Alstom with a warm Sheffield welcome when they visited Mechan to see our skilled engineers at work and view their completed bogie changing equipment. The construction of Cairo Metro’s Line Three is a massive undertaking and we are very pleased that our connections in France have enabled us to play a part in the project.”

Egypt was the first country in Africa to have a metro network. The construction of Line Three commenced in 2007 and phase one is scheduled for completion in 2011. Once the project is finished, it will connect Cairo Airport in the east with Embaba and Mohandisseen in the west and will carry more than two million passengers a day.