On the horrible accident near Beni Suef in Upper Egypt, from Ahram Online:
Hours after the tragic train crash that killed at least 19 passengers and injured scores of others in the Giza suburb of Badrashin, victims’ relatives and police officials remained gathered at the scene and a military helicopter hovered overhead.
The 12-carriage train, which was carrying 1,328 Central Security Forces (CSF) conscripts, mostly around 20 years old, had been travelling en route to Cairo from Upper Egypt. The conscripts had been preparing for their first military training, when two railway cars – each carrying over 200 soldiers – derailed, hitting a cargo train sitting outside a storage depot.
According to one, the overcrowding may have saved his life, though it surely killed others:
“On the truck I was in, one injured passenger had a broken leg; his leg hung by the skin only. Another had his nose broken, while a third had suffered broken ribs. I’m one of the lucky ones who had been sitting with five others in seats fit for two. Others were crammed into the upper shelves usually reserved for baggage. Those are the ones who died.”
We have traveled by train several times to Upper Egypt, but always in first or second class. Even there, some passengers are allowed to enter and stand in the aisles and open spaces near the door. In other cars we see how people are crowded together, though never this severely.
But on the whole, we have always found train travel in Egypt to be smooth and economical, even when someone in the aisle has his elbow in your ear leaning on the back of the chair. Usually they are kind enough to adjust. I wonder what sort of ticket they bought, if any, and why the attendant allows them to stay.
On the other hand, there is weird and uncomfortable sense of entitlement when we see them crammed in, yet my six year old daughter has a seat. We did pay for it, right?
I remember my days in university, when I would sit in the corner of the train on a huge bag of laundry, traveling from Washington, DC back home to New Jersey. I wonder how many passengers I annoyed.
May God rest the souls of those who died and comfort the many injured. May he guide the government in fixing Egypt’s many problems. Mercy.
- Touring Egypt with Egyptians – February 25, 2012