Transport Minister Israel Katz approved the NIS 28.3 billion (EUR 6.47 billion) four-year railway strategy, that includes major railway modernisation, the conversion to electric engine and building new stations, the Jerusalem Post reports.
NIS 12 billion (EUR 2.75 billion) will be allocated for the conversion to electric transport, that includes infrastructure works and the acquisition of new rolling stock.
The conversion will be done in several stages, with some lines ready before 2020 and the rest later, the ministry told Jerusalem Post. Katz said that the switch to electric-powered trains from the current power is expected to increase the frequency and speed of trains as well as the “precision and trustworthiness” of the system.
For the acquisition and installation of the new signaling and communication systems, the authorities will allocate NIS 3.7 billion (EUR 845.5 million) and NIS 3.4 billion (EUR 777 million) will be delivered for the construction of new maintenance facilities, while the existing ones will be diverted to handle the electric-powered trains.
NIS 700 million (EUR 160 million) from the budget will be used for the new lines and Ben-Gurion Airport station expansion. Among the new lines are spurs connecting the Rishon Lezion Harishonim Station to the Rishon Lezion Moshe Dayan and Paatei Modi’in stations. An additional line in Modi’in will be built to assure passenger transport to the high-speed network , which is estimated to start in March 2018, connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Regarding the railway station development, Israel Railways will build new stations at Netanya, Kfar Menahem and Mazkeret Batya, with an estimated budget of NIS 153 million (EUR 35 million). The other project that involves railway stations, includes the modernisation of a number of existing ones. The allocated budget is NIS 245 million EUR 56 million).
All these projects will determine almost the doubling of the number of trains running on a daily basis, from 450 trains to 860.