Cairo Train Station Train Arriving
The Night Sleeper Train from Cairo to Aswan
We were told to carry a change of clothing and our toiletries for the night sleeper train which we will be boarding at 8.20 p.m. from Cairo train station to take us to Aswan. Since this will be the first time I am going to sleep on a train, I was looking for a ride equivalent to the Orient Express or at least the Keretapi Sinaran Express.
According to a CCN news report dated 23/3/02, on 20/2/02 a fire broke out on a train traveling from Cairo to Luxor where more than 360 people were killed or burnt to death. It was the worst accident in the 150 years of train tragedy and if I had known about it earlier, I would have jumped train.
Have you taken a ride that never seemed to reach its destination, ploughing on and on without the slightest inkling where you are heading? That was the train I was on. The glass planes were covered with thick smog that had not been washed for decades that made looking out impossible. By the time the train crunched to a halt, 14 hours later, I still could still feel and hear the long, screeching sound of metal scraping against metal, followed by jerking and more jerking and screeching as the driver (plainly couldn’t be bothered-type) pulled to an abrupt stop and then started to move again. It happened throughout the train ride. Each time the train made its stop, as we peered out into the darkness, thoughts and fear of the train being hijacked flickered through our minds. The final halt was a great relief to my group of 28 holiday travelers, not to mention the hundreds of other tourists from Asia and European countries. We were ill-informed of the stations where the train made its stop en-route to Aswan. In fact, right from Cairo station, no announcement on its delay was forth coming. Even if it did, it was all conducted in the Egyptian language.
By the time we stepped off the dusty train at Aswan, some were feeling giddy, others nursing a headache due to lack of sleep, and some clutching their un-touched packed supper or the morning’s breakfast.