ISRAEL KATZ 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The National Infrastructure Committee approved on Monday night the
electrification of country’s network of Israel Railways trains, a step that
officials say will significantly decrease pollution and increase passenger
“The railway electrification project will improve passenger
services and increase the level of reliability and accuracy of the train,” said
Transportation Minister Israel Katz.
Electrifying the country’s trains is
one of the Transportation Ministry’s top priorities, under the framework of a
broader “Nativei Yisrael” project initiated by Katz, which aims to connect the
country by rail from the Negev to the Galilee and from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat.
In doing so, the train will be able to reduce social disparities as it shuttles
people to and from from periphery with greater ease, Katz explained.
entire electrification process will cost approximately NIS 11.2 billion, but
will bring a welcome decrease in pollution and noise to the environment, the
The plan approved on Monday night involves the
electrification of 420 km. worth of existing and planned rail lines, as well as
the construction of transformer stations and a control system, according to the
A tender for the electrification infrastructure is expected to
be released in the first quarter of 2014, the ministry added. For the time
being, Israel Railways is assessing seven proposals that were submitted during a
pre-qualification period, a process which will likely be completed next month,
the ministry said.
Boaz Tzafrir, the CEO of Israel Railways, expressed
satisfaction over Monday night’s approval, stressing that his company aims to
lead the public transportation sector in Israel with the electrified
“Our ability to move trains faster and longer will allow us to
receive more passengers and transport them safely and in the shortest time from
point to point,” Tzafrir said. “This means an increase in the number of
passengers who choose the train – and as a result, fewer vehicles, fewer
accidents and less pollution.”