To make the country’s trains as efficient and environmentally friendly as
possible, Israel should take swift steps to electrify its 420 kilometers of
railway track, a senior executive from a Canadian rail giant told The Jerusalem
Post on Thursday.
“We are supporting the investment and deployment of
electrification,” said Laurent Troger, president for Rolling Stock Atlantic
Services at Bombardier.
“It would provide a significant opportunity to
enhance the transportation.”
Troger spoke with the Post following his
address on Thursday at the International Transportation Conference at the Kfar
Maccabiah convention center in Ramat Gan, sponsored by the Morag Group and the
Transportation Ministry, in partnership with the Prime Minister’s
Because trains can save more energy than any other vehicle and
provide citizens a sustainable transportation solution, Troger recommended that
Israel continue investing in its rail sector. A crucial component in these
investments will be the electrification of the Israel Railways network, to bring
the train infrastructure up to Western standards and employ advanced operating
systems, he explained.
All over the world, “the climate is right for
trains,” Troger said in his conference presentation.
Troger described how
railways provide very little contribution to overall pollution, accounting for
only about 0.6 percent of carbon dioxide emission caused by transportation in
the European Union, whereas road traffic accounts for about 70.7
Looking at traffic volume, Troger said that in an urban
environment, a metro rail can carry up to 50,000 people per hour and a light
rail up to 22,000 people per hour, whereas cars and buses can only carry 2,100
and 9,000 people per hour, respectively.
Trains and trams, Troger
explained, can be used to help cities facing a diverse range of challenges,
including urbanization, population growth, pollution, congestion and real estate
value and availability.
Once the government moves forward with
longstanding plans to electrify its tracks and releases a tender for electric
trains, Troger said that Bombardier hopes to offer a competitive prospect.
Bombardier is already responsible for the red double-decker coaches that are
used in most Israel Railway routes.
The railway would not necessarily
need to replace its coaches, and instead, could simply replace the locomotives
with fully electric or hybrid diesel-electric versions that can be integrated
with existing coaches, Troger explained.
“That’s a very fast and
cost-efficient solution for Israel Railways to move to an electric solution,” he
Despite environmental objections over potentially unsightly and
radiation-emitting high-voltage electricity lines required for such
electrification, Troger stressed that this is a stable and very secure
transportation solution that is employed all over Western Europe particularly,
as well as the rest of the world.
“This type of solution is very well
known,” he said. “It is a very proven solution.”