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Scrap level crossings.

Summary: Yesterday's tragic incident, which left more than 50 schoolchildren dead and more than 17 seriously injured after a speeding train hit their bus in Assiut, must prompt the government to phase out all of the nation's level crossings and ban the building of new ones.

The Egyptian Gazette

These repetitive tragedies involving the killing of drivers, riders and pedestrians, have to stop after yesterday's tragedy, which occurred near the village of el-Mandara in Manfaloot district in the province of Assiut.

In Egypt, it is high time for gradually replace each level crossing that meets a public road with a flyover or underpass to prevent more fatal accidents either now or in the future.

Some officials may argue that it is financially impractical to ban all crossings, which are a 19th century solution to road-rail interchanges. They also claim that it would cost the government an estimated average of LE1 million per crossing.

They also argue that they are safe if these level crossings, which are being used on high-speed or local lines, are used properly.

Until these dangerous level-crossings are gradually removed, the Ministry of Transport should teach the people how to obey the safety rules each time they encounter a railway crossing.

But, opponents of level crossings strongly believe that these old solutions should be banned altogether because they have the greatest potential for a significant danger for both road and rail users.

While trying to replace these level-crossings, it is quite regrettable that the Ministry of Transport has never published figures showing the number of people killed on these level crossings, which are known as the widow-makers among the Egyptians.

In post-Revolution Egypt, it is high time for a commitment by the government of Dr. Hisham Qandil to separate rail and road traffic.

Copyright Eltahir House 2012

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:Nov 18, 2012
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