Northbound train which made emergency stop near Haifa.
(photo credit: GUY BAZAK)
A weekend up north may soon get easier after a plan was unveiled for a nonstop train from Tel Aviv to Tiberias, promising a trip that clocks in just under an hour. Currently the trip takes almost two hours by car and almost three hours by bus – for those lucky enough not to get entangled in traffic.
The plan was unveiled late last week when Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz gave his approval to an extension to the Jezreel Valley Line, which is expected to start running this autumn from Haifa to Beit She’an. The extension would run from Afula nonstop to Poriya Hospital, just outside Tiberias and eventually entail a further connection to Kiryat Shmona, along the border with Lebanon.
The extension from Afula to Tiberias would require 30 kilometers of new tracks to be laid down, as well as several tunnels and bridges. Netivei Israel – National Transport Infrastructure Company Ltd – has been charged with the task of advancing the plan.
The minister said that his transportation vision for the country entailed better connecting the North and other “periphery” areas with the Center and the rest of the country.
“This is a historic revolution that will make [the North] an integral part of Israel’s business makeup,” Katz said, adding that more industry would also bring more residents to the north. Part of the plan would include a loading platform for transporting goods and raw materials between the Galilee and Ben-Gurion airport.
“This will turn Tiberias into a metropolitan city in the eastern Galilee,” Katz enthused. The connection to Tel Aviv via high-speed train would branch from the Poriya station and run directly to Tel Aviv, stopping at the Ben-Gurion International Airport.