Exactly 24,460,166 passenger trips were made on Israel Railways from January through November, fully 18.5 percent more than in the first 11 months of 2004, Israel Railways said Tuesday. "The railway is gaining strength as a key mode of transportation for mass transit," said Israel Railways CEO Ofer Linczewski. Israel Railways is working to respond to high demand levels through "significant" purchases of new rail equipment and developing the infrastructure, Linczewski said. New railway stations are being inaugurated and the tracks are being added on heavily traveled lines. "These steps will lead to significant improvement in passenger service, increased train frequency, and greater amenity for passengers," he said. In November, 2.4 million trips were made, 10.2% more than in the same month last year. Trips made between Ashdod and Tel Aviv grew 15% to 396,225; trips to Ben Gurion Airport and back rose 12% to 82,593; and train travel to and from Beersheba grew 6% to 262,403 trips this November. Travel between Tel Aviv and coastal cities to the north also grew over the past year. Trips to and from Haifa totalled 508,897 in November, 9% up from the same month last year, while trips to and from Netanya surged 14% to 249,226 and those between Tel Aviv and Nahariya rose 7% to 275,895.