Israel Railways to return full service to all lines

Dec. train fire caused by malfunction from work done in Denmark; lines to suburbs, periphery, south, and J'lem to re-open.

Train Fire 311 (photo credit: Ron Friedman)
Train Fire 311
(photo credit: Ron Friedman)
Israel Railways announced Thursday that starting on Saturday evening its fleet would return to normal capacity, after the investigative committee charged with identifying the source of last month’s fire aboard a passenger train gave the green light to return the decommissioned cars to service.
The committee published an interim report on the fire south of Netanya identifying the cause as a mechanical malfunction on the specific train and not a system-wide failure on all trains using the Inter-City 3 carriages.
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“The decision to reauthorize the trains was received after the independent experts presented the interim findings to Israel Railways management. The findings point to a mechanical failure in one of the carriages that underwent repairs by the manufacturer in Denmark in 2001. In light of the findings, the investigation committee approached the manufacturer in order to receive further information about the repair works,” Israel Railways said in a statement.
“During the past three weeks, since the fire, the carriages underwent exhaustive inspections, based on the instructions of external experts and according to the investigation’s findings. Initially, 30 carriages on which inspections have been completed will return to service...
Israel Railways will soon complete inspection of the remaining carriages and file a full report to the relevant parties within the next few weeks.”
The fire near Kibbutz Yakum on December 28 resulted in injuries to 116 people who escaped by jumping out of windows, causing cuts and bruises and broken bones.
Many of the 400 passengers had to exit the train through the windows because the train doors failed to open automatically.
Additionally, the emergency notification systems that was supposed to alert the driver of the fire failed to operate and the driver only learned of the fire because a train driving in the opposite direction alerted his attention to it.
The interim report did not address the malfunction of the doors or the notification system. An Israel Railways’ spokesman said the full details of the investigation findings would be included in the final report.
An additional, Transportation Ministry-mandated, investigation on the fire is under way. The ministry spokesman said that authorization to return the carriages to service was not required of the ministry, because it was Israel Railways and not the ministry that decided to decommission them.