Two incidents near Zaqaziq

 In Archive, Egypt

Western semaphores at Mit Qurashi. Dundit is 5kms west of here and has similar signalling installations. Author 9/2004

Eastern starter at Mit Qurashi. Signals like these date from 1930s resignalling projects, and maybe even earlier.

I’m reproducing 2 reports about incidents last week on the single line between Zaqaziq and Mit Ghamr in the eastern Delta, and make some comments afterwards. The second is potentially more serious, but the first comes from a report from Masr al-Arabia last Tuesday:

Train 590 heading from Zaqaziq to Alexandria struck a donkey cart soon after leaving Zaqaziq. The cart was crossing the track at an unofficial crossing near Shaybet el-Nukaria station. Checks by Alexandria driver Mohammed Hussein Gado (49) revealed the locomotive suffered slight damage to the front buffer and the vacuum brake, all of which delayed the train for about 2 hours. There were no casualties, but Sharqiya Governorate’s security chief Brigadier Sameh el-Kilani was notified about the incident.

Train 590 is scheduled to depart Zaqaziq at 21:15, and pass Shaybet el-Nukariya, 4 kms west of Zaqaziq, 6 minutes later. The second report is from Thursday’s el-Bawab News:

ENR formed a technical committee to investigate what led to 2 trains nearly colliding near Dundit station last Tuesday morning (5th November). The committee is due to start work immediately in order to pinpoint what or who was responsible for the incident and all its circumstances.

According to the details released about the incident train 230 was heading from Zaqazqiq to Tanta near Dundit in Daqhaliya Governorate and was running ahead of schedule when it ‘collided’ with a train heading from Muhalla el-Kubra to Zaqaziq. It is thought the signal protecting the single track was broken. Dundit station’s supervisor and staff intervened quickly to avert a collision.

The incident led to train services being suspended on the line for over an hour while the situation was brought under control. Some reports say 5 people were injured, but Daqhaliya health official Dr Magdi Hegazi denied there were any injuries. Only last month a train hit a car at Dundit station, killing 2 and injuring 7.

The report said the trains ‘collided’, but I’ve described it as a ‘near-miss’ because the station staff ‘rescued the situation’, there were no casualties and the line was cleared after an hour.

Train 230 is the 7:40 from Zaqaziq to Tanta, scheduled to pass Dundit at 8:35. It is likely the other train was train 229, due to pass Dundit at 8:38, but this is billed as starting from Tanta, not Muhalla el-Kubra.

Mit Qurashi signal box on the island platform.

Note

From April to November 2013 I kept a news blog about Egyptian Railways, where I translated and summarised articles from the Egyptian (Arabic) press and posted them in English. This was through the period of the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood government, after which train services were suspended for many weeks. This is one of a small number of the 150 blog posts I wrote during that time.

If you have any stories about railways or the Middle East in general that you would like help to write or publish, please get in touch.

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