French manufacturer Thales will provide a range of technological solutions to the new metro system in Alexandria, Egypt after signing a €1.3bn ($1.42bn) contract with the Colas Rail and Orascom joint venture. Signalling and centralised control will both be delivered by Thales.

The ambitious program from Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) is turning the region’s existing Aboukir suburban railway line into an upgraded, modern metro network to ease traffic congestion in the city and reduce emissions by encouraging the modal shift to rail. 

Thales will be working on a number of different aspects for the network, including its SelTrac Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling, automated fare collection systems, and a centralised control solution. 

Alessio Bencivenni, director of Thales Ground Transportation Systems in Egypt, said: “Thales has a long heritage in Egypt as we worked with NAT on the Cairo Metro right from the beginning, 35 years ago. 

“We are excited to accompany NAT on the path to modernize public transportation system for the City of Alexandria. Thales’ solution will ensure seamless integration of all subsystems, enabling rapid responses to network incidents with minimal downtime and optimal efficiency.” 

Ticketing for the metro will be handled by Thales’ Transcity solution which allows commuters to pay with a variety of methods including smartphone-based tickets, contactless cards, and NFC mobile payments. 

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By GlobalData

Also, in addition to providing the signalling and ticketing systems for the network, Thales said it would also be installing security solutions on the line, including video management systems with intrusion detection features allowing operations to be monitored from a control centre. 

The new metro will run 21.7km from the Aboukir railway station to the Misr station in Alexandria with work to implement existing plans for the service first beginning in 2019, before Orascom and Colas Rail received the contract to build the line in September 2023. 

The project will not be the first time that Thales and Orascom have collaborated in Egypt, with the two companies recently signing a €300m contract with Egyptian National Railways to renovate the Cairo-Beni Suef railway.