Rail theft thwarted near Minuf

 In Archive, Egypt

A 3rd class single ticket from el-Shuhuda to Etay el-Barud (via Dinshwai) dated 26th January 1995. (Author)

The spate of rail thefts continues, prompted by desperation among certain sections of society and easy access to the source, if a railway track runs through your village or district. This recalls the lazy decision last month by Cairo transport chiefs to simply bury miles of the Nuhas Street tram tracks under hardcore and tarmac. If salvaged and sold, the many tons of steel could have fetched a useful amount of money.

This reported theft was at el-Shuhuda, which is Arabic for ‘martyrs’. I was only at Shuhuda for a couple of minutes and vaguely remember a fairly substantial building, passing loop and footbridge, with trains passing on the Minuf-Kafr el-Zayat line (Line 12 in the ENR timetable). I was on my way to visit Dinshwai, the next station north, where I had a pleasant chat with the (surprised) station supervisor. Dinshwai was the scene of an historic incident against the British in 1906 that stimulated the Egyptian nationalist movement. The latest news reports states:

The police caught two men red-handed as they were trying to steal railway track and other property near el-Shuhuda station, before they were able to load and sell it. Shuhuda’s criminal investigations officer notified Minufiya Governorate’s security chief Brigadier Said Abu Hamad that he had arrested 2 men, Muhammed Sh, 27, and Walid A, 21, both unemployed, in the act of stealing the material and handed them over for prosecution.

From this report, it is difficult to tell whether the men were targeting the running lines, or track such as old sidings on the margins. It is also difficult to assess how much damage was done.

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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