Israel train fire 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel Railways announced on Sunday that it is reducing service across the
country by 20 percent following last week’s fire aboard a passenger train near
Until further notice, service will be canceled on five lines,
and 14 stations will be closed.
Tuesday’s fire, which caused injury to 79
people, mostly from smoke inhalation and cuts suffered while exiting the train,
was apparently caused by a mechanical malfunction and not an electrical short
circuit as was originally thought. An investigative committee assigned by Israel
Railways CEO Yitzhak Harel found that a broken Cardan joint, which connects the
engine to the wheels and is located next to the diesel tank, was the likely
cause of the fire.
As a result of the findings, Israel Railways decided
to temporarily decommission its fleet of Inter City 3 railcars, until completing
The company currently employs 48 of the Danish-made
On Thursday, The Jerusalem Post
reported that train involved in
a fire did not measure up to safety standards put into place in Israel in
Chaim Tamam, deputy chief inspector of the Fire and Rescue
Services, told the Post that a number of regulations called for under Fire
Safety Code 5435 were not adhered to in the train, putting the lives of the
passengers at risk.
“Code 5435 deals with all the safety aspects of a
train in case of fire, including how the exits, engines and stations should
operate. For instance, under this code, trains must be sealed so that smoke
can’t go from one carriage to another,” Tamam said.
“In case of fire,
passengers must be able to open the doors to exit [the train] and the emergency
lights must come on so people can see.
“None of these worked [in
According to Israel Railways, the temporary
decommissioning of the carriages means that its operations have dropped from 340
to 220 trains a day, reducing passenger seating capacity by 20%, from 36,000 to
Israel Railways announced that for the near future, traffic
between Hod Hasharon and Rishon Lezion via Tel Aviv; between Beersheba and
Dimona; and between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem via Ramle and Beit Shemesh will be
suspended in both directions. Additionally, regional trains going from Haifa to
Kiryat Motzkin will be suspended as well as the 07:56 train from Modi’in to Tel
All services will be suspended to the following stations: Hod
Hasharon (Sokolov), Kfar Saba (Nordau), Rosh Ha’ayin (North), Petah Tikva
(Segula and Kiryat Aryeh), Bnei Brak, Rishon Lezion (Harishonim), Ramle, Beit
Shemesh, Jerusalem (Biblical Zoo and Malcha) and Dimona.
Transportation Ministry and Israel Railways have asked bus companies to increase
service in the affected areas and Israel Railways has leased 250 buses to
operate as shuttles instead of the temporarily decommissioned
Israel Railways also announced that passengers who have monthly
or weekly passes can obtain refunds at ticket offices.
services due to the fire come at a time when Israel Railways is already reducing
operations due to construction works on its southern lines.
details about the discontinued services visit www.rail.co.il/EN/Pages/HomePage.a
spx or dial *5770.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.