Cairo had boasted an extensive network of tram lines that were installed in the late 19th century. These became neglected starting in the 1970's due to a development vision that favoured economic liberation and privatisation. By the late 20th century, the lines in central Cairo had been dismantled and the Heliopolis line was one of the few remaining and functioning tram lines. Since the early 2000s, and with the expansion of Cairo's subway metro network, there have been numerous calls for the overhaul of the Heliopolis tram line.
These campaigns by the Heliopolis community and residents, and by urban planning experts and environmentalists had been sustaining momentum and visibility from around 2012. This seemed to pay off, when, in 2016, it was announced that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Ministry of International Cooperation (MOIC) had signed a 250 million US dollar loan deal to overhaul and revive the tram line.
In April 2018, the project was on the parliament agenda. However, in August 2018, citizens were surprised by the dismantling of the tracks. This happened without prior consultation, and despite indicators and government announcements having pointed to the intention of reviving the tram line.