Valley Railway, renewed

Work on the tracks and station buildings of the restored line, due to open at the end of 2016, is progressing apaceץ

By SYBIL EHRLICH
June 15, 2015 15:16
Valley Railway Israel

Valley Railway. (photo credit: ISRAEL ROADS)

 
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The Valley Railway opened for business in 1905 as a branch of the Hejaz Railway, which was intended to transport Muslim pilgrims to the holy city of Mecca. Money for the project ran out before the line to Mecca was completed, but the branch from Haifa to Damascus operated until the establishment of the State of Israel (and the closing of the border with Syria) in 1948.

The section of the line from Haifa to el-Hama (Hamat Gader) passed through the Jezreel Valley, an area of heavy Jewish settlement from the second decade of the 20th century. The original stations were Haifa (today called Haifa East, closed to passengers and housing the Israel Railway Museum), Tel Hanan, Kfar Yehoshua (then called Tel e-Shamam), Afula, Beit She’an (Beisan), Jisr el-Majamie, Tzemah (Samakh) and el-Hama, where the line crossed into Syria.

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