Egyptian Railway Sphinx Poster
Egypt, till the beginning of the 19th century, was depending completely on the River Nile for her transportation. When the steam engine was invented, an English company made a proposal in 1834 to the governor of Egypt Mohamed Ali Pasha to build a railway line from Cairo to Suez. In the summer of the same year, a feasibility study was conducted and the governor gave the company the go-ahead signal. The equipment of the project arrived at Alexandria port in 1835 but they were left there for 15 years. Mohamed Ali was perplexed what to do especially with the French proposal to dig the Suez Canal. So he suspended both proposals for fear of foreign intervention and lack of local expertise. ??? Mohamed Ali was succeeded by his son Abbas I in 1848. Robert Stephenson, son of the inventor of the steam engine George Stephenson, made a proposal to the new governor to build a railway line from Alexandria to Suez passing through Cairo. Abbas I agreed and drew a contract with the English in secret so as not to stir the French.