Eight years after Israel's government agreed to build a rail link to Eilat, the Southern District Planning and Building Committee has approved for deposit the first section of the plan. The first section, links Beersheva with Mishor Rotem via Dimona.
This northern section will cost NIS 2.7 billion and for the time being no budget has been approved for the work. Many question the economic feasibility of the entire Eilat rail link project.
The planners estimate that in 2030, there will be 18-30 trains to Eilat per day with 5.2 million passengers using the service within the course of each year. In addition, cargo trains will transport 198,000 vehicles and 3,834 tons of chemicals and 108 containers each year. The planners have been working closely with the Planning Administration and the Ministry of Environmental Protection to ensure that the railway does the least possible damage to the desert environment and landscape.
The plan involves moving the current Dimona railway station to the city center. Dimona Municipality has welcomed the plan, which will help promote its new city center plan costing NIS 350 million, including offices and a transport hub including a bus and taxi station as well as the railway station.
Dimona Mayor Benny Biton said, "At the moment Dimona railway station is not economically worthwhile. To get the 2.5 kilometers from the city center by taxi costs more than the ticket to Tel Aviv. The new plan brings the station into the city center and upgrades the railways to speeds of 250 kilometers per hour. Dimona residents will be able to get to Tel Aviv in 50 minutes, like from Kiryat Ono. We will bring the center of the country closer to the periphery.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 21, 2020
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