2.4 Palestine Railway Assessment (Israel)

For railway contacts, please see the following link:  4.1 Palestine Government Contact List

There is no rail network in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel Railways (Hebrew: רכבת ישראל "Rakévet Yisraél") is Israel's government-owned national railway company and is responsible for all inter-city and suburban railway passenger and freight traffic in the country. It utilises the standard gauge in all its lines.  The network is centred on the coastal plain from where lines radiate out from Tel Aviv in many directions. 

Israel Railways divides its routes into several operational lines: 

  • Inter-City Service: Nahariya - Haifa - Tel Aviv - Ben Gurion Airport - Lod - Be'er Sheva 
  • Suburban Service: Haifa - Qiryat Motzkin 
  • Suburban Service: Binyamina/Netanya - Tel Aviv - Rehovot 
  • Suburban Service: Kefar Sava - Tel Aviv - Jerusalem/HaRishonim 
  • Suburban Service: Be'er Sheva Tzafon (North) - Dimona 
  • Suburban Service: Hod Hasharon - Tel Aviv - Rishon Le Zion 
  • Suburban Service: Binyamina - Tel Aviv - Ashdod - Asheklon 

The line from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station was extended so that it will connect with the historic (now upgraded) railroad that already reaches Southern Jerusalem. The ride on the new high-speed line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will take 28 minutes. 

The activities of the cargo division in Israel Railways focuses on the transportation of cargo where transportation by train has significant advantages: containers, minerals, phosphates, hazardous materials, grains and waste. The transportation of cargo is carried out using cars of different types: flat modular car for carrying 20 ft and 40 ft containers, closed car for transporting bulk, aggregates and minerals, and a tanker car for carrying liquids. The area of activities of the cargo division in Israel Railways spans from the Dead Sea Works in Tsefa / Rotem / Nahal Zinn / Oron and Ramat Hovav in the south and up to Haifa in the north. The cargo terminals are located in strategic areas near centers of activity such as Tsefa, Ramat Hovav, the Port of Ashdod, Bnei BrakHadera west and ICL fertilizers in Haifa. 

Operational Sites for Routine Operations:

  • Haifa transportation center -  Operating cargo trains between Haifa and factories in the north as well as the southern stations. 
  • Ashdod/Lod transportation center -  Operating cargo trains between Ashdod and Haifa and from Ashdod to the south. 
  • Ashdod port -  There are three private terminals in the Ashdod port which have a track junction with the railway tracks. The terminals are: 
    • Overseas terminals -  Conterm terminal and Marine containers terminal 
    • Dimona transportation center -  Operating cargo trains from the southern stations Nahal Zinn, Tsefa and Oron to Ashdod and Haifa and between the Zinn factory and Tsefa. In addition to the transportation centers at the stations Beer-Sheva, Bnei-Brak and Binyamina. 

Proposed rail lines to the PNA: 

Recent talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have raised the possibility of reviving the old line from the Gaza Strip to Tulkarm and/or building a new line from Gaza to Tarkumia (near Hebron). The purpose is to securely transport people and goods between Gaza and the West Bank through sovereign Israeli territory as well as for transporting cargo to and from the Israeli port of Ashdod destined to the PA. Another proposed line would involve the revival of the old Hejaz railway branch from Afula to Jenin. Most of the transportation activities focus on transportation of the following: phosphates, potassium, coal, nuclear substances, gravel, containers, phosphoric acid, sulfur and crude oil. The Israel Railway serves as an overland bridge between the ports of Haifa and Ashdod 

The current and future plans for Israel Railways divide its passenger routes into eight operational lines - see website for details.  

Further links:

Israel Railways Website 

Israel Railways - Wikipedia

Key Stations

Israel Railways - Cargo Division

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