Israel Railways carried 48.5 million passengers in 2014, a 7.5% increase, compared with 45.1 million passengers in 2013, according to Israel Railways yearly summary. Israel Railways attributed its growth to better service, new routes, more frequent routes, and more stringent adherence to timetables.
In mid-June 2014, a new timetable completely changing Israel Railways' method of operation from the past 16 years was issued. The new timetable included dozens more trains, a change in operating hours, and consistency in hours. In November-December, the first representative months after the timetable was implemented (after Operation Protective Edge, the school vacation, and the High Holy Days), a new daily record of 196,000 passengers was set.
Israel Railways management further noted that the average timetable compliance rate in 2014 was 95%, compared with 93% in 2013, 90% in 2012, and 87% in 2011.
Railway cargo totaled 7.5 million tons in 2014, compared with 6.7 million tons in the preceding year, a 12% increase.
In infrastructure development, 2014 saw strenuous work on promotion of the new routes and upgrading of old railways stations. Work continued on the Negev line, and upgrading of the cargo line in the Heletz area was completed. At the same time, Israel Railways began preparations for setting up the Sapir railway station in Netanya and refurbishing six old railway stations.
On the high-speed train to Jerusalem, digging on all the tunnels on the route has been completed, including two 11.6-kilometer tunnels, the longest in Israel. At the same time, most of the engineering work for laying the track has been completed, and the systems tender (tracks and communications) has been published.
Israel Railways put 72 double-decker carriages suitable for electrical operation into operation in 2014, and 9,000 new seats were added. 12 new Euro 3200 locomotives also began running.
Israel Railways CEO Boaz Tzafrir said, "The 2014 results prove that balanced management; meeting the services targets, including schedule compliance rates; availability; reliability; and cleanliness have increased passenger satisfaction, and have increased demand and profitability.
"The company still faces many challenges." Tzafrir continued. "These include the bond issue, completing the high-speed route to the capital, the electrification project, and continuation of accelerated wok on improving service. Over the next five years, Israel Railways will continue to progress towards doubling the number of trains to 860 daily, serving 70 million passengers a year, and will put the quality of the service it provides to Israelis on the same level as the world's largest railway and most significant companies."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 1, 2015
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