(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Transportation Ministry published a Request For Information (RFI) on Monday
to gauge the private sector’s interest in building a railroad to
The publication of the RFI is the first step toward finding a
company to take on the role of building the 170-kilometer track from Dimona to
According to the Transportation Ministry, the new railway will
include 63 bridges and five tunnels.
The track will connect to the
existing line that leads from Beersheba to Dimona and include eight new stations
along the way, including a station at the as-yet-unbuilt airport in
Travel time from Tel Aviv to Eilat is expected to take
two-and-a-half hours by rail, and it is estimated that the line will cater to
3.5 million passengers per year.
According to the ministry, the track
will also carry freight containers from the port of Eilat to the rest of the
country and assist in reducing truck transport across the country, freeing up
the roads, reducing pollution and reducing accidents.
Minister Yisrael Katz said the Eilat rail project also held social significance
and that its construction would bring residents of the periphery closer to the
heart of the country.
“This is a plan that will significantly reduce
travel times from the Center to Eilat and create a significant change in
Israel’s transportation map,” said Katz.
The railroad to Eilat is part of
the government’s transportation reform plan, in which NIS 2.5 billion has been
earmarked for planning new roads and railways.