This could be the future of travel in the Gulf
The Hesan Alkhaleej or &lsquo...
German tech giant Siemens has unveiled a concept for a high-speed capacity intercity train, tailored for the GCC region.
The Hesan Alkhaleej or ‘Horse of the Gulf’ concept has been developed to offer a comfortable, reliable and efficient alternative to road and air travel, the company said in a statement.
The concept integrates special features designed for the Gulf. This includes its ability to withstand temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius as well as special sand-filtering technologies.
In order to ensure passenger safety while travelling the trains will also offer multiple redundancies to ensure air conditioning and power supplies continue to run even where there are failures.
“The Hesan Alkhaleej is a premium intercity train; our vision of a real alternative to road and air travel in the Gulf region,” said Joerg Scheifler, senior executive vice president, Mobility, Siemens Middle East.
“Mobility between cities is a key driver of economic stimulus, and while there are already a number of modern city transit systems in the region, we see the need arising for fast, safe, luxurious and efficient intercity services to link these together.
“We have been in the rail business for more than 160 years and we draw on this global experience to combine proven technology with local knowledge, in order to develop solutions that are tailor-made for the region.”
Scheifler added: “Rail networks on the Arabian Peninsula are chiefly built around freight operations, but we also recognize the needs of growing populations and an increasingly diverse economic landscape.
“It is key to the efficient use of investment and infrastructure that passenger and freight services can be combined in a mixed-use solution, integrated with what’s already in place and achieve the speed, luxury and convenience levels required to compete with air and road travel.”
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.