Transportation In Egypt
Egyptian railways can be the most comfortable ways to travel within cities in Egypt, this I can say with certainty.
The views from the train can be astonishing, especially along the Nile amongst the palm trees and fields on the Cairo-Luxor-Aswan and Cairo-Alexandria routes. The train journeys most often give an insight into the country.
How to buy tickets?
A degree of patience is called for, but it is quite easy to buy tickets at the station when you get to Egypt.
At the Cairo main station, several booking windows are in place, one for each class and group destinations, so ensure you are on the right queue.
Except for the Cairo-Luxor-Aswan deluxe sleeper, in which payment must be done in foreign currencies(pounds sterling’s, US Dollars, Euros) at a separate El Watania sleeper office, train tickets can be paid for in Egyptian pounds.
It is usually easy to get first class tickets on the day of travel or the day before except during busy periods.
The deluxe overnight sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor to Aswan usually has available places if booking is done a day or two in advance. Pre-booking is recommended at times of peak tourism such as Easter, where it can get fully booked by tour groups.
Due to the misleading and easily circumvented Upper Egypt tourist train restriction, tickets would not be sold to foreigners for the regular daytime trains on the Cairo-Luxor-Aswan route.
Solution for this is either to use self service machines or buy a ticket online. If all else doesn’t work, get on the train without a ticket and payment can be done on board. See section on tourist train travel restrictions which gives a deeper explanation.
Self-Service Ticket Machines
At the station, this represents the easiest method of purchasing tickets, faster compared to use of ticket counters with staffs.
Egypt major terminals have self-service ticket machines, with English aid and a touch screen.
Complete train tickets can be purchased, with booking for all major courses & trains. Foreign cards are recognized as well.
Tickets for the Cairo-Luxor-Aswan daytime trains are gladly sold, whereas the counters with staff won’t.
Articles infer, in 2017, machines denied foreign cards or had become damaged, but a few work and can accept foreign cards. A feedback would be appreciated, if these machines are used.
Tickets for daytime express can be purchased online at https://enr.gov. e.g
For express trains equipped with air-conditions between Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan, reservations for tickets can be done online.
What Tickets Can Be Booked?
For the major air-conditioned express trains between Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan, the machines can book first and second class seats.
View the next category, if you want to purchase tickets for the Cairo-Luxor-Aswan sleeper trains.
When Does Booking Begin?
It begins two weeks prior to the date of departure. It says ‘space unavailable’ if booking is done at more than two weeks prior to the departure date. So it is advisable to wait until booking has begun.
What I Won’t It Book?
- Sleeper trains
- Tickets to other places such as Easter such as Port Said or Mersamatruh
- Tickets to minor terminals such as Komobo or Edfu
- Second or third class non air-conditioned tickets for slow trains
- Reservations more than two weeks prior to departure date
- Reservations from Luxor to Aswan
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR FOREIGN TOURIST TO OPERATE THIS SYSTEM?
Foreign tourist can operate this system as it provides a list which includes USA and other foreign countries to select from during purchase of tickets.
A daytime seat from Cairo to Luxor can be reserved, with no issues with tourist restrictions.
It may say it only takes Egyptian credit cards, but it utilizes the Verified by visa additional security and I can say it receives my UK visa credit card. So give it a try.
On the Cairo-Luxor-Aswan trains, highest number of seats reserved is four, while the highest is five for the Cairo-Alexandria trains.
For reservations through a travel agency or at the terminal, opening two distinct accounts with different identity and credit card is helpful, if you want to purchase more tickets than that stated above. Some limitations are present; just view their terms and conditions.
How To Purchase Tickets Online?
Visit https://enr.gov. e.g, tap on the English language icon and sign up. The national ID box contains spaces for your passport number. Activate your account with a code sent to your e-mail.
Log in again once activated and click on the booking icon. Terminals, class and date within the next two weeks can be chosen. Booking beyond this may not be possible as time and offset may not be seen.
Booking details with date, time and seat number can be printed out.
Provided the traveler is the owner of the printout and credit card used for booking, the train can be boarded.
If another’s card is used, a replica of the front of the credit card, booking details and passport is required.
TIP: Ticket details should be printed out soon after making reservations or penned down because tickets are not mailed to you.
Is Purchase Of Tickets For The Cairo-Luxor-Aswan Train Possible Online?
It is not possible. Though “Abella”, the sleeping train company previously offered such service at wataniasleepingtrains.com/ticket.
Purchasing Tickets Through An Agency
If reservations in advance for Egyptian train tickets and the online booking system aren’t working for you, or you desire reservations from Cairo to Upper Egypt using the deluxe sleeper trains, an Egyptian agency can mail tickets to you.
Cairo to Alexandria
Alexandria and Cairo train services are very good. Two types of trains exist;
- Regular trains, with basic non air-conditioned second and third class, also some trains with air-conditioned second class
- Modern express trains, with air-conditioned first and second class, not different from European trains, making use of ‘French’ or ‘Spanish’ carriages.
The price of an air-conditioned first class one-way ticket from Cairo to Alexandria is approximately LE 50 i.e. less than €6 or $9.
The best trains are the special extra-fast air-conditioned express trains making use of Spanish carriages, first and second refreshments, either non-stop or only ending at Tonta.
SPECIAL: From December 2007, they became equipped with regular air-conditioned carriages, as the fuel consuming turbo-trains were expensive to maintain.
EXP: Also suggested are the fast air-conditioned express trains, using built-in French carriages with first and second class refreshments, usually making several stops.
ORD: includes regular second and third class, not air-conditioned. Not often used by tourist.
Purchase of tickets
Prices are shown below; these can be looked up at https://enr.gov.eg
Distance from Cairo to Alexandria is approximately 208km i.e. 129miles. These trains also stop at Sidi Gaber, which is a local terminal 3km from Alexandria’s major terminal.
Tourists Train Travel Restrictions
Cairo – Luxor – Aswan train limits for tourists.
In a bid to reassure tourists of their safety since the 2009 terrorist strikes in Egypt, limits were placed by the government on the trains visitors can purchase tickets for the aforementioned routes. Though a closer thought would reveal that this is merely to generate more revenue from allocating tourists to planes or deluxe sleepers, and some might even feel safer in the midst of Egyptians on a train rather than being flocked along with other foreigners. At present, the Egyptian Tourist Agency in the UK refutes being aware of any train limits. This makes the details tricky to ascertain, but the actual is as follows.
What do the restrictions mean?
The overnight luxury sleeper trains, in either the sleeping cars or seat cars are the only trains which tickets are given from the Cairo ticket point for travels from Cairo to Luxor/Aswan, thereby hoarding the tickets of the quite comfortable and less expensive day trains plying the same route. However, there is no issue in boarding these trains if you are in possession of a ticket, only the issue of not being able to purchase the tickets at the ticketing office.
Note that other routes are without any restrictions. Routes like Cairo to Suez, Alexandria or Port Said are available for anyone to purchase tickets for any kind of train without any sort of restriction. Even the ticketing offices in Luxor and Aswan will joyfully issue you a ticket for Cairo-bound trains.
All pathway trains utilize the remarkable main station in Cairo, occasionally known as Ramses Station, unless revealed otherwise in the official timetables.