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Sunday, 17 August 2008

Travelling round Cairo on Public Transport - Ramses Station area

STOP - PRESS (3rd November 2011) - The building works at Ramses Train Station are still ongoing, but you can see the improvements.  A sit-down cafe WITH WC (toilet, loo) has reopened on the long-distance platform where you catch trains to Luxor. There's a fixed price - I think it's 25pst but I forgot to take a lot of notice!

The pedestrian walkway has completely vanished!  I hope they rebuild it as it's by far the quickest way of navigating around that area!

STOP - PRESS (29th March 2011) - Ramses Train Station is currently undergoing a lot of rebuilding work and so the surrounding area is a little chaotic.  The station is in use, but allow extra time to get into the station and find your platforms (and buying tickets if necessary!).  There appear to be NO WCs on the station at present, and also no sit-down cafes (though refreshments are available on the platform where trains depart for Luxor/Aswan)   The pedestrian walkway is also partially dismantled.

At last - my first post in this series - prompted by a gathering we are having in Heliopolis on Friday.

If you are travelling around Cairo on public transport - then the centre of your universe will be the Ramses Station area. Many microbuses from all over Cairo come to this area so you can interchange here, and the Mubarak Metro station which serves both the existing underground metro lines also has entrances here. You can also find the entrance to the TRAM SYSTEM! (known as the Heliopolis Overground Metro or Metro Masr El Geddidah), so its a pretty good place to get familiar with.

There is also a main bus station not far away - but I will deal with that in a later post (when I've figured it out :D )

Here is a schematic approximate diagram of the area (it is not accurate but should enable you to orientate yourself above ground!).

The main Ramses Station has a w.c. for 25pst as indicated! Its not wonderful but anywhere is a palace in a time of need :D. There are also various refreshment facilities, tourist information office etc within the station environment.

Both the two metro lines pass through Mubarak metro station and it has many exits. If you want to arrange to meet people then either in Ramses Station or outside the Fatha Mosque (which has a big paved pedestrian area out front) are good.

The roads around Ramses Station are very busy and also there are barrier fences stretching along them for what seems like miles so unless you are fit and can climb over them, you will have a lot of walking to do unless you negotiate the underground passages (which can be confusing as they branch off and off - the one to Ramses Station is labelled 'Egyptian Railways' and the one to FatHa Mosque is labelled.. FatHa mosque!)

If you come above ground - then you will see a pedestrian walkway as roughly indicated on my diagram with the thick black line. Use it!

The entrance to the tram station is not clearly marked - once you know there's one there, its obvious. Otherwise you might easily walk past without noticing it! You pay for your ticket on the train - ask for where you want - I'm going to Roxy Heliopolis on Friday and I know there's a stop there because I've been before. You also need to know that the stops are not particularly well marked so ask everyone to tell you when to get off! Also check the tram is going where you want (I have yet to find out all its destinations!) and check it goes there.

Westerners don't usually use the tram so people might look at you a bit curiously! Its somewhat rickety but at 25pst who cares! (I think there may be some destinations that are 50pst but I'm not sure).
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