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1833 Muhammad Ali Pasha planned to build a railway between Suez and Cairo to improve transit between Europe and India and proceeded to buy the rail when the project was abandoned because of pressure by the French who wanted to build a canal.
1851 His successor Abbas I contracted Robert Stephenson to build Egypt's first standard gauge railway.
1854 The first section, between Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast and Kafr el-Zayyat on the Rosetta branch of the Nile was opened
1856 The section between Kafr el-Zayyat and Cairo was completed
1858 An extension from Cairo to Suez was opened and this completed the first modern transport link between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. (The Suez Canal was not completed until 1869).
1858 May 15th. At Kafr el-Zayyat the line between Cairo and Alexandria originally crossed the Nile with an 80 feet car float but a special train conveying Sa'id's heir presumptive Ahmad Rifaat Pasha fell off the float into the river and the prince was drowned. Stephenson therefore replaced the car float with a swing bridge nearly 1,600 ft long.
1860 Branch completed from Banha to Zagazig on the Damietta branch of the Nile
1861 Branch to to Mit Bera completed
1863 Branch from Tanta to Talkha further down the Damietta Nile completed
1865 A branch reached Desouk on the Rosetta Nile and a second route between Cairo and Talkha was opened, giving a more direct link between Cairo and Zagazig.
1866 A branch southwards from Tanta reached Shibin El Kom.
1867 The line between Imbaba near Cairo and Minya opened
1868 A short branch to Faiyum was added
1868 A line between Zagazig and Suez via Nifisha was completed
1869 The line to Talkha was extended to Damietta on the Mediterranean coast and a branch opened to Salhiya and Sama'ana.
1872 A long line between Imbaba and a junction west of Kafr el-Zayyat opened, linking Imbaba with the national network.
1874 The line from Minya to Assiut opened
1875 A line southwards linked Cairo to Helwan opened
1876 A line along the Mediterranean coast linking the termini at Alexandra and Rosetta was completed
1891 A rail bridge linking Imbaba across the Nile to Cairo opened