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Sphinx and the Pyramid of Chephren December 2, 2009

Sphinx and the Pyramid of Chephren
December 2, 2009

Egypt’s transportation network has a few notable firsts included in its history. The Cairo Metro is the oldest subway in Africa and the Line 2 tunnel under the Nile River was the first tunnel of any kind under the river. As of 2015, the Cairo Metro has three lines with a fourth in the planning stage, it is hoped at some point to extend the Metro all the way to Cairo’s airport. Cairo used to have an extensive tram network, but its last section, which ran from Ramses Station in Central Cairo to Heliopolis, closed in 2014. Cairo also has a bus network running throughout the city, perhaps most notable for the fact that stops are unmarked and the buses do not always come to a complete stop to let passengers on and off.

The Egyptian railway system is also the oldest in Africa as well as the first in the Ottoman Empire and the entire Middle East. It opened in 1854, running from Alexandria to Kafr el-Zayyat. The network soon expanded to include numerous lines through the Nile Delta, and by 1898, had been extended southward all the way to Aswan. Today, the Egyptian National Railway (ENR) operates over 3,100 miles of track, but only 39 of these miles are electrified. ENR carries about 800 million passengers and 12 million tons of freight each year.

Cairo Metro

The Cairo Metro opened on September 27, 1987, at which time it was the first subway to open on the African continent. As of 2015, it has three lines and 61 stations along nearly 50 miles of track, with extensions to the existing network and a fourth line being planned. About 4 million passengers use the system daily. Line 2 has the distinction of having the first tunnel of any sort to be constructed under the Nile River. A single ride costs 1 Egyptian Pound, or roughly 0.13 US dollars, making it the cheapest subway ride in the entire world.

Heliopolis Tram

At one time, Cairo had an extensive tram system, dating back to the late 1800s. However, as traffic congestion in the city increased and tram service became unreliable, ridership decreased and lines were gradually discontinued. The final tram line operated from Ramses Station to Heliopolis and was closed in 2014.