A New Railway Line Atbara – WadiHalfa

Prefeasibility Study for Construction Of A New Railway Line Atbara – WadiHalfa

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  • Project cost = 1,134–1,575 m$
  • Total length (main line + Stations) = 630 km
  • Annual Net Benefits = 147.2 m SDG
  • Internal Rate of Return = 13%
  • Pay –back Period = 17 years
  • Economic Age = 80 Years
  • Execution Period = 4 Years

Project Objectives

The existing line Atbara- WadiHalfa is the oldest line in the railways network. It was constructed during the Anglo – Egyptian condominium during the period 1897 – 1989 .
The line is formed of 75Ib/yard rails from Atbara to station No.8 in the north for a distance of 337 kilometer, the remainder of the line is formed of 50Ib/yard rails for a distance of 257 kilometers.
No major improvements have been made on the line since its establishment except the partial change of rails in the early sixties of the 20th century .
The line with its very weak and primitive technical features to 75 Ib/yard dose not enable the railway to run heavy locomotives and large- carrying capacity wagons.
This has deprived the railway of one of its very important preferential characteristic which is exemplified in its technical suitability for carrying of large volumes for longer distances .

The region through which this line passes is planned to be one of the most flourished regions in the country . The near expected flourish will be the result of the following :

A/ Signing of the Four Freedoms Agreement:

In the year 2006 a Four Freedoms Agreement was signed between Sudan and Egypt. The four freedoms include the freedom of settlement, work, movement and trade. It is envisaged that the agreement will lead to activation of bilateral trade and to higher mobility of the citizens to and from both countries. This will lead to raising of the very low bilateral trade between the two countries which does not exceed at present 2.5% of the total imports of Sudan from the outer world .

B/ Construction of Merwi Dam:

A lot of huge agricultural projects in the region is launched for local consumption and export.

C/ localization of Wheat Production:

The northern part of the country across which the line passes is endowed with many favorable characteristics for production of wheat. Total expected production from this important crop is envisaged to reach 1.5 million tons for local consumption and export (891 million ton-km)

D/ Cement Production:

The area west of Atbara up to Abu Hamad is endowed with large quantities of rocks which are used for cement production. Huge efforts were exerted by the government of the River Nile State to attract local and foreign investors to enter in the production of cement. At present 6 cement factories were under establishment, one of them El Salam Cement Factory-has begun production since October 2008 and the others are nearing the production stage. Total production of the six factories is estimated at 8.2 million tons annually.
Consumption of the Northern State from cement is estimated at not less than 600,000 tons annually (356.6 million ton-km) .

Transit Traffic :

Egypt is a member of the COMESA. The COMESA has issued many resolutions to facilitate the movement of goods among its member countries.
Most of the COMESA member countries lay south to Sudan. Those resolutions are expected to raise the intra trade between Egypt and the rest of COMESA’s member countries to at least 750,000 tons annually (445.5 million ton-km).

Passenger Traffic:

As a result of the implementation of the Four Freedom Treaty mobility of the citizens between Sudan and Egypt is expected to raise passenger traffic considerably. This will enable SRC to run one passenger train daily between Khartoum and Wadihalfa and to run a daily local train between Atbara and Abu Hamad. Number of passengers conveyed hereby will amount annually to 440,000 passengers between Khartoum and WadiHalfa (261.4 million p-km) and 360,000 passengers between Atbara and Abu Hamad (87.8 million p-km).

Capital Cost:

Total cost for construction of the line 594 km long in addition to 36 kilometers of station lines is estimated at 1,134 m$.

Financial Analysis

Expected Receipts:
Expected receipts will be in the form of line usage fees which equals SDG 0.09 for the ton-km and SDG 0.1 for the passenger–km.

Total receipts expected from the aforementioned potential traffic are estimated as follows:

Freight traffic = 1247.4 million ton-km × SDG 0.09 = SDG 112.3 million
Passenger traffic= 349.24 million p-km×SDG 0.1 = SDG34.9 million
Total receipts = SDG147.2 million


The line will be constructed according to modern specifications which include:


♦ Design standards: UIC, Chinese (GB), European (EN), AREMA, BSC.
♦ Track construction: Ballasted track with long welded rail.
♦ Track gauge: standard gauge 1435mm. In some routes (1067mm capable of subsequent modification to1435mm)Dual gauge
♦ Design train speed: (120) km/h future 160 km/h.
♦ Maximum gradient: 0.6% (recommended)
♦ Minimum curve radius: 1200m (and 800m in strict condition)
♦ Axle load: 25T
♦ Traction load: 3500T
♦ Effective length of arrival-departure track in stations: 750m
♦ Width of sub-grade surface: 7.5 at top of sub-ballast
♦ Thickness of sub-ballast and sub-grade: 600mm
♦ Embankment: depth of embankment under sub ballast varied.
♦ Ballast thickness below sleeper: 350mm for main line, 250mm for station and siding track.
♦ Rail: 60 kg/m rail (UIC 60)
♦ Sleepers: Pre-stressed concrete standard gauge (1435mm).IN some routes Pre-stressed concrete sleepers for Dual gauge
♦ Fastenings: Pandrol, Vossloh, or equivalent
♦ Turnouts: 1:12 and 1:9
♦ Subgrade & Ballast Cross Section
♦ Subgrade Slope 1:1.5 , 1.2 (According Soil Classifications )
♦ Ballast Slope ( 1: 1.5 or 1 : 1.75 ) Upper width of ballast 3.3mStandard structure gauge.

Signaling and Telecommunications

General features:

A new signal and traffic control system should:
♦ Provide for overall direction and traffic management by a central controller
♦ Provide safely for trains, track maintenance work, etc.
♦ Not impose unnecessary or arbitrary restrictions on train movements, such as speed limits, or flexibility of operation (including shunting and special movements). In other words it should encourage maximum efficiency of operations.
♦ Be adaptable and expandable to meet changing traffic requirements.
♦ Be economical to install.
♦ make optimum use of advanced but proven technology such as computers, electronics, and radio communications.
♦ Permit advantageous use of new technology as it becomes available .
♦ Be easily maintainable .
♦ Be adaptable , with suitable variations, to the railways network .

Technical features:

1. Train Control: Electronic Train Control System ETCS/CTCS.
2. Station Interlocking: Computer Based Interlocking.
3. Outdoor: Electric point machines and colour light signals.
4. Block Operation System: Semi-automatic.
5. Train Detection: On-board Communication dependant.
6. Monitoring: Centralized monitoring system.


As the existing communications facilities impose heavy constraints and limitations on train operations and the railway’s performance , it is crucial that the whole telecommunications network be improved , whether or not the track and signalling systems are upgraded or renewed .

General features:

The future telecommunications system must be designed for:
• Short, medium and long distances.
• Multi – purpose applications:

1. Train security (signalling circuits).
2. Train operation (dispatching).
3. Freight and passenger transportation (commercial).
4. Railways administration (service and maintenance).
5. Railways management.

Technical features:

1. Back-bone: Optical fibre cables and SDH with STM-1 System.
2. Train –to – land: Wireless Radio 152 MHz or 400 MHz band, TETRA or equivalent.
3. Dispatching System: Via Fibre optics and radio.


Feasibility of the project is evaluated according to the following criteria:

1/ Net Benefits :
Net annual benefits which will be generated by the project will amount to SDG147.2 million.

2/ Pay – back period :
The project will cover all its investment cost in a period which does not exceed 17 years including construction period ( 4 years ).

3/ Internal rate of return ( IRR ) :
Internal rate of return is estimated at 13%. The rate is considered very high if it is compared with the large amount of capital cost which reaches SDG 1,890 million.

4/ Social& Economic Benefits :
Activate bilateral trade between Sudan and Egypt .
Meet the huge potential transport requirements of the Northern and River Nile States.
Lead to social cohesion between the citizens of the two sisterly neighbors Sudan and Egypt.

5/ Environmental Impact:

In comparison with road carriers the railways have the following advantages :

Saving of 10-15 times in used areas.
Savings of 3-5 times in fuel.
Cause 2 percent of the total accidents in comparison to 98 percent by roads.
Pollute environment 75% less than road carries.

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