The Cairo Metro ( ar|مترو أنفاق القاهرة|Metro Anfāq al-Qāhirah, lit. "Cairo Tunnel Metro" or   ) is the rapid transit system in Greater Cairo, Egypt. It was the first of the three full-fledged metro systems in Africa and the first in the Arab world to be constructed. It was opened in 1987 as Line 1 from Helwan to Ramsis square with a length of . As of 2013, the metro carried nearly 4 million passengers per day. As of August 2020, the Cairo Metro has 74 stations (mostly at-grade), of which 3 are transfer stations, with a total length of . The system consists of three operational lines numbered from 1 to 3. The Cairo Metro is run by the National Authority for Tunnels. The lines use standard gauge ().


The middle two cars (4th and 5th) of each train have been reserved for women since 1989 (the 5th car becomes mixed-use after 21:00). There are blue signs at every station that signify the position of these cars. These cars are used as an option for women who do not wish to ride with men in the same car; however, women can still ride other cars freely. This policy was introduced for protection of women from sexual harassment by men. Cairo Metro operates from 05:00 till 01:00 (except during Ramadan, when it operates from 05:00 till 02:00), with the remaining hours reserved for maintenance work. The ticket price was EGP 1.00 for each journey, regardless of distance. The Ministry of Transportation agreed to double the ticket prices, starting from Friday 24 March 2017, costing EGP 2 for the normal ticket, 1.5 for the minors ticket, 1 for the special needs ticket after formerly costing 1, 0.75 and 0.5, respectively. Again on 10 May 2018, the ministry of transportation agreed to raise the ticket prices to be EGP 3 for 9 stops, EGP 5 for 16 stops and EGP 7 for more than 16 stops. As of July 2020, 9 stops cost EGP 5, 16 stops cost EGP 7, and rides exceeding 16 stops cost EGP 10.


Line 1

Line 1 (blue) is the oldest line of the Cairo Metro, with its first segment having opened in 1987. The line is long, and serves 35 stations. This line carries trains with 3 units (9 train cars), which have a headway of 3:30 to 4 minutes, and a maximum speed of . The line can carry 60,000 passengers per hour in each direction. Line 1 has a train driving simulator supplied by Transurb Technirail that won the international tender issued by Cairo Metro in 2011.

Line 2

Line 2 (red) is the second line of the Cairo Metro. The line is long, of which is in tunnels. It serves 20 stations, of which 12 are underground. It is mostly in bored tunnel, with two exceptions: a short section at the northern end approaching Shubra El Kheima which is elevated, and a section just south of this by cut-and-cover. Line 2 uses the third rail electrification system instead of the overhead line used in the first line. The communication extension for line 2 was provided by Alcatel in 2005. The minimum headway for the line is 2 minutes 40 seconds to 3 minutes. Line 2 has a simulator installed in Shubra since 2002 which was delivered by French company CORYS. The first tunnel to be built under the Nile River carries line 2 across the river.

Line 3

Line 3 (green) presently operates from Attaba to El-Shams club, with construction under way for the remaining line to the northwest of Greater Cairo. Eventually it will link Cairo International Airport all the way to Cairo University and Imbaba. The line will cross under the two branches of the River Nile, as does Line 2. The total length of the line will be approximately , most of which in bored tunnel, and will be implemented in four phases. Phase 1 from Attaba station to Abbassia station opened on 21 February 2012, with five stations and a total length of . Phase 2 to Al Ahram Station was opened on May 7, 2014 by Adly Mansour, with four additional stations and an added length of , for a total length of . Phase 4-1 from Al Ahram to El Shams Club opened on June 15, 2019 (with the exception of Heliopolis Square station).



As the biggest and most densely populated city in Africa, and the Arab World, the case for a metro in Greater Cairo was strong. In 1987 that population stood at 10 million residents, not counting the two million or so commuters who came into Cairo every day to work. The capacity of Cairo's public transport infrastructure was around 20,000 passengers/hour, which increased to 60,000 after the construction of the metro.

Proposed plans

The idea of a metro was first proposed in the 1930s by engineer Saiyed Abdel Wahed of the Egyptian Railway Authority, however, the idea did not progress. Following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, there was renewed interest in the idea. In 1954 French experts made a report about the future of the transportation in Egypt. They proposed a metro encompassing two lanes, one 12 km long lane connecting Bab al-Louq and Ismailia and a second 5 km lane connecting Boulaq and Abou al-Ela Castle. They also proposed that there should be one company in charge of all transportation systems. Later on multiple experts came to Egypt regarding that project: Soviet experts in 1956, Japanese experts in 1960 and French experts in 1962, which concluded the following: The creation of a metro system with multiple lines. The first is a 5 km line connecting Helwan with El-Marg going under the Kasr el Eini street and Ramses Street. The second line would be from Sayeda Zainab to Shobra going under Downtown Cairo and would be 9.5 km long. The third would be from Giza to Abbaseya and would be 11.5 km long. The fourth would be from Al Awqaf to the Castle and would be 6.7 km long. In 1964 British experts advised the creation of a metro line from Bab El Louk to Shubra. In 1966 Japanese experts advised the creation of a lane between Helwan and El Marg and another one going through Mohandessin, Heliopolis and 26 of July street, for a total of 26 km. Lastly, in 1969, the government approved the need for a study showing the needed capacity for Cairo's transportation system. The Egyptian Ministry of Transport issued an international tender for the creation of the study. Eight companies applied and the French company Sufreto won the tender on 20 September 1970. The study was finished in 1973 and included mainly the study of the population development in Cairo and its needs for transportation capacity in 1980, 1985 and 1990. It concluded the necessity for three lines in greater Cairo to solve the transportation problem. The first line would use the already available railways (Helwan-Bab El luk and Al Laymoun Bridge-El Marg) and connect them through a metro. It would be in total 43 km long. The second line would be 13.5 km and connect Shubra El-Kheima and Bulaq going through Ramses Street and Tahrir Square. The third line would go from El Darasa to Imbaba and would be in total 10 km long. The priority for the project was the first line which would reduce 30% of the daily transport to and from Cairo and would incorporate pre-existing rail infrastructure. The detailed study of the construction took 6 years from 1975 to 1981. A tender was made for the construction of the metro and the Egyptian-French company Entra Nevra Arabco won it and had the task of constructing the metro system.

Construction works

The construction of Line 1 started in 1982 after the French government agreed on giving Egypt the necessary loan. The first section was opened on 27 September 1987 and the line was completed in 1989 connecting Helwan with El Marg and consisting of 33 stations with a total length of 43 km of which 4.7 km underground. In 1999, New El Marg station was added to the northern end of the line, bringing its total length to 44.3 km. Helwan University station was built between Wadi Houf and Ain Helwan stations. Cairo's metro network was greatly expanded in the mid-1990s with the building of Line 2, from Shoubra El Kheima to Cairo University, with an extension to Giza. The line includes the first tunnel under the Nile. The construction of the line was finished in October 2000, and it was later extended to El Mounib.

Proposed lines

Line 4 (October-Oasis Highway - the Police Academy)

Line 4 is planned to run from Haram District to the New Cairo district, connecting Greater Cairo from West to East. It will cross the two branches of the Nile river, and have a total length of . As of early 2019, construction is scheduled to begin in Q3 2019, with an estimated completion date of 2024. Phase 1 (west) of the project will run from ''El-Malek El-Saleh Station'' (Interchange with Line 1) to the ''October-Oasis Highway Station'' with a total length of 18 km, passing through ''Giza Railway Station'' (Interchange with Line 2); the original plan for phase 1 was for it to start from ''El-Malek El-Saleh Station'' and end at the ''Grand Egyptian Museum Station'' with a total length of 10 km, but the Ministry of Roads & Transportation decided to extend the Line in their efforts to further connect the Governorate of 6 October to the Greater Cairo Area; phase 1 also includes the plan to connect the end of Line 4 to the suburbs of 6 October mainly through executing ''The October 6th Tram system'' (The ''O6T'') which will be by using a tram-train system supplied with the Alstom Regio-Citadis trams. This phase will have 15 stations to be constructed with a duration of 6.5 years. Phase 1 stations will be equipped with automatic fare collection system and platform screen doors, and will include elevators for the use of disabled passengers. Phase 1 bidding has been postponed until May 2015 to enable Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to complete the feasibility study and to resolve other problems with the construction starts by 2015 or 2016 according to Ismail El-Nagdy, Chairman of National Authority for Tunnels with Japan International Cooperation Agency financing $1.2 billion loan while Egyptian government covering the rest of $2.4 billion. Phase 2 will begin from ''El-Malek El-Saleh Station'', passing east through Magra El-Oyoun street and Salah El-Din Citadel in Salah Salem street and ending at the ''6th District Station'' (beginning of Nasr City district) with a completion date set at October 2018. Phase 3 will begin from ''6th District Station'' and ending at ''Makram Ebeid Station'', following ''Mustafa El-Nahas street'' in bored tunnels under the existing old tram system, and ultimately deconstructing the old railway and paving its right-of-way (increasing the street by two lanes in each direction, which is critically needed to lighten the traffic congestion in the area). This phase has a completion date set at October 2019. Mitsubishi was the only company to submit an offer on a tender for 64 trains in the third and fourth phases of the project. The offer was accepted in October 2018. Phase 4, the final phase, will begin from ''Makram Ebeid Station'' with bored tunnels following Doctor Hassan El-Sherif street and Ahmed El-Zomor street, ending at ''Police Academy Station'' near the Ring Road.

The New Cairo Monorail

This project was first proposed by private investors as a plan to connect ''Line 3'' with ''Line 4'', through a route which is mostly parallel to the Ring Road's eastern arc, therefore covering New Cairo from north to south starting at the Cairo International Airport and ending at the beginning of the Cairo-Ain Sokhna Highway. In August 2016 a different monorail project was under discussion, connecting 6 October city with other western parts of Greater Cairo. The line was expected to be 35 km long, cost $1.5 billion, and be completed by 2018. A contract was signed in August 2019 with Bombardier Transportation, Orascom Construction, and Arab Contractors for $4.5 billion to build and operate the two monorail lines. The first will run 54 km from eastern Cairo to the new administrative capital. The second will run 42 km from 6 October City to Giza.

Qalyub Line 2 extension

As of December 2017, Spokesperson for the Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) said that there are plans to extend Line 2 7 kilometers to the north from Shubra Al-Kheima station to end at Qalyub station due to the increasing traffic in north Cairo entrances, He also said that bidding will be held in February 2018 and the winner will be revealed mid 2018. The station will be an at-grade station built parallel to the train railway, bridges will be built to divert traffic from the Metro route.

Long-term plans

A transportation study of the Greater Cairo region was completed in 1999. It recommended the implementation of a six line system consisting of lines 1, 2 and 3 (existing), and lines 4, 5 and 6. The completed Metro Network would be capable of serving most of the densely populated areas in the Greater Cairo region, which was much in need of a comprehensive mass transit system. The plans include interchange stations between the six metro lines and would also provides interchange facilities with existing main railway stations, the airport, and bus stations. The six planned metro lines aim to meet the transportation demands of the Greater Cairo area up to the year 2032. However, the actual construction and implementation schedule will be restricted by available funding, and it is likely that the timetable will slip. Line 5 would be a half-circular line connecting lines 1-4 in northern Cairo, running from Nasr City in the east, to Port Said Street and Shubra El Kheima in the west. It would have a length of , entirely within bored tunnels. It would intersect Line 1 at ''Helmiet el-Zaitoun station'', Line 2 at ''El-Khalafawy station'', Line 3 at ''Haroun station'', and Line 4 at ''Al-Wafaa we al-Amal station''. Line 6 would be a north-south line, from Shubra in the north to the Maadi and Helwan districts in the south. It would run from ''Ataba Station'' through ''El Kalaa street'' in bored tunnels to ''Salah Eldin Citadel Station'' (Interchange with ''Line 4'') and moving on from there to both districts via bored tunnels using the existing route ''El-Mahager Railway'' as a guide through both Maadi and Helwan. This Line has a length of . It would intersect Line 1 at ''Ghamra station'', Line 3 at ''Bab al-Sharia station'', Line 4 at ''Amr Ibn al-Ase station'', and Line 5 at ''Sawah station''.

Network map

See also

* List of Cairo Metro stations * List of metro systems



;Other references: *

Further reading


External links

Cairo Metro – official website

Cairo Metro
(International Tunnelling Association)
Cairo Metro Stations Chart at ''VirtualTourist.com''Some hi-res pictures from inside the Cairo Metro
{{coord missing|Egypt + Category:Giza Category:Rapid transit in Egypt Category:Underground rapid transit in Egypt Category:Electric railways in Egypt Category:Rail transport in Egypt Category:Railway lines opened in 1987 Category:Downtown Cairo Category:750 V DC railway electrification