As the most populated city in the Middle East and Africa and the 7th most congested city worldwide, and as a result of the then poor transportation services, which had a negative social and economic impact on citizens, the need was persistent for a metro in Cairo that would meet the high demand for transportation.
The idea of a metro was initiated by the Egyptian Engineer Sayed Abdel Wahed who worked at the Egyptian Railway Authority in the 1930s. In 1954, French experts issued reports about the future of transportation in Egypt and proposed a metro comprising two lines, a 12 km line connecting Bab el-Louq and Ismailia Canal and a 5 km line connecting Boulaq Abou al-Ela and the Citadel.
The French experts proposed the establishment of a company to be in charge of transportation in Egypt, and from 1965 until 1966, the Soviet, Japanese and French experts emphasized the necessity to introduce a metro. In 1969, the transportation crisis escalated in Greater Cairo and the government headed by President Gamal Abdel Nasser acknowledged the need for studying the problem, and, accordingly, the Ministry of Transportation held a tender, which was won by the French Company Sufreto on 20 September 1970.
The implementation of Line I started in 1982, given that the first phase ended on 1st October 1987 and the second on 12 April 1989, connecting the industrial area and Helwan University to the Central Business District in Cairo and the Northeast of Cairo up to El-Marg, of a total length of 42.7 km. It comprises 34 stations (including 5 underground stations).
It has headway of 2:30 minutes and serves 60.000 passengers per hour in each direction, besides a maximum speed of 100 km/h. It takes 65 minutes from Helwan to El-Marg. As a result, the project achieved great success on economic, social and environmental levels and considerably reduced traffic congestion, thereby reducing environmental pollution in the capital.
It extends from Shubra El-Kheima station, through Ahmed Helmy Street, to the Faculty of Agriculture, crossing underneath Ismailia Canal, then passing through El-Mezallat to Ramses Square along Khalafawy, St. Teresa, Rod El-Farag and El-Masarra stations, then passing through Attaba Square, Tahrir Square, crossing underneath the Nile River at a depth of 10 meters till Dokki, Bohooth, Cairo University, Faisal and ending in Giza.
Line II is considered a pivotal means of transportation since it connects Qalyubia to Giza and Shubra El-Kheima railways to those of Giza.
As a result of the high demand for transportation on the third metro line, the study on transportation in Greater Cairo concluded that the third line should extend from Imbaba and Mohendisein west of the River Nile to pass under the Nile to Zamalek, then over to to Attaba, Abaseya, Cairo Stadium, Heliopolis, Alf Maskan, Ain Shams and Cairo International Airport, thereby linking east of Cairo to its west, while exchanging the two lines in Gamal Abdelnasser and Attaba stations. The third line will be carried out over 4 phases:
To include 5 underground stations (Attaba, Bab Elshereya, El-Geish, AbdoBasha, Abbaseya) which will provide an alternating service with Attaba station for the second line. Implementation of this phase took around 4 years, inaugurated in February 2012.
Abbaseya/ Al Ahram Street in Heliopolis
This phase extends from Abbaseya Square up to Haroon station. It is 7.7 Km and includes 4 underground stations (Cairo Fair, Stadium, KoleyetElbanat, Al Ahram) in addition to 7 ventilation systems, inaugurated in May 2014.
Attaba- Kitkat, Kitkat-Imbaba and Kitkat- Cairo University). This phase extends from Attaba to RowdElfarag north of Imbaba, then across the Ring road until EtayElbaroud railway, then heads south until Cairo University across GametEldowalElarabia Street and BoulakEldakrour to connect with the second line at Cairo University station. The phase, including 15 stations, extends over 17.7 Km and will be implemented over three sub-phases.
It extends over 18.17 Km from Al Ahram in Heliopolis to Cairo Airport, including 15 stations (from Haroun in Heliopolis to Elnozha station extending underground across 5.15 Km, then above ground across 6.37 Km to Elsalam, with another branch from Haroun to Terminal 3 at Cairo Airport covering 6.65 Km, adding up to a total distance of 18.17 Km over 15 stations, expected to be inaugurated on 31/01/2018.
Studies have recommended the necessity to implement Cairo metro line IV to connect the 6th of October City to Downtown Cairo and the densely populated areas in El-Haram, Fasal, El-Omrania and El-Giza. It will be implemented over two phases:
Phase I: will run from the Ring Road through the 6th of October City to El-Fostat with a total length of approximately 19 km across 17 stations.
Phase II: will run from El-Fostat through the Islamic Cairo to Nasr City and Heliopolis.
The European Cooperation Sector at MOIC had a major role in preparing for the metro agreements. It held meetings and negotiations with the French side, up to obtaining the required funds for the first three lines of the metro worth approximately EUR 2.6 million during the period from 1979 to 2014. Negotiations are underway with the French Government to secure funds for the fifth and sixth lines. On 14 December 2014, Egypt secured a loan worth EUR 344 million with an interest rate of 0.1%, over a 53-year repayment period, and a 20- year grace period.
The following is a statement of funds provided by the French Government to Cairo metro project by virtue of the protocols prepared by the European Cooperation Sector, which was keen on negotiating the best financial conditions during negotiations:
Negotiations are underway with the French Government to finance the fifth and sixth line of the metro.