Haifa mayor, environmentalists win train battle

Israel Railways: The decision was liable to delay the railway electrification program throughout the country.

Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and environmental organizations have won a victory over Israel Railways. The National Planning and Building Commission's Coastal Protection Committee has forbidden Israel Railways from building overhead electrical wires along a stretch of rail considered sensitive because of its proximity to the sea. The committee forbade the placing of electric poles for the railway because of the severe aesthetic damage it would cause the coastal vista.

Yahav said in response, "This is a historic turning point that will bring about development in Haifa the likes of which no Israeli city has ever seen."

Israel Railways said that the decision was liable to delay the railway electrification program throughout the country, and that it also jeopardized the electrification of the Akko-Carmiel line, which is due to begin operating in 2015. A 20-kilometer stretch of track runs through Haifa, including seven kilometers along the sensitive Mediterranean shoreline.

The electrified Akko-Carmiel railway line is part of the government's 420-kilometer nationwide train electrification program. Israel Railways hopes to publish the first engineering planning tenders for the project within weeks. The train electrification program will cost an estimated €1.2 billion.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 31, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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