The trains are back

After a two-months stoppage, train service will resume today, several local newspapers reported. 

Citing reports from the Railway Authority, the privately-owned Al-Shorouk daily writes that the service between Cairo and Alexandria will resume, as well as the Aswan-Qena line and the Alexandria-Banha line.

The government ordered the stoppage of trains after the declaration of the state of emergency following the dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda on August 14. 

The stoppages have led to losses both on the government front and on the level of livelihoods as well. Up to two million commute to Cairo every day.

According to Hussein Zakaria, head of the Railway Authority, they lost some LE600 million due to the stoppage of the trains, he told Al-Shorouk. 

According to Adel Anwar, an agricultural engineer based in Minya, in Upper Egypt, the 247 kilometers distance between Minya and Cairo has rendered the train stoppage a precarious issue. 

“People started taking buses, and the fares for the bus ride has jumped from LE25 to LE70. In most cases, the buses are in very bad shape and almost stop on the way,” he told Mada Masr. 

He has to commute to Cairo at least twice a month and the stoppage of the train became an inconvenience, “because we have a huge problem with centralization. Most of the time, we are asked to finish up papers in Cairo as the Minya authorities are not authorized to do everything,” he adds. 

Among those affected are people who commute on a daily basis from their hometowns in Qalyoub, Banha, Tanta to Cairo. 

Mohamed Helmy buys coffee beans from Cairo to deliver them to coffeehouses in Tanta. Accordingly, he used to commute on a daily basis to Cairo and comes back in the afternoon to distribute the coffee in his hometown. 

“When the trains stopped, we had to take microbuses which doubled their prices to LE20. The train ticket was only LE5 and it was more comfortable for me with all the stuff I have to carry on the way back to Tanta,” he told Mada Masr. 

“They say they are doing this to prevent the Brotherhood members from gathering. But this was a very negative step,” he told Mada Masr. “We are the ones who have ended up paying the price.”