Israel Railways has begun planning a new north-south line, which will bypass the Greater Tel Aviv area, "Yediot Ahronot" reports. The new line from Hadera to Lod will link northern and southern Israel in terms of trains without entering Tel Aviv, just as Road 6 does for the country's highway system.
The new line, which involves the construction of nine new stations, was approved by the cabinet four years ago and should have been operational by 2018. Now that Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz has given the green light and allocated a budget of NIS 8 billion, the planning will take 18 months and construction a further four years so that the railway should be operational by 2022.
Under the plan, a branch line will run southwards off the coastal line between Binyamina and Hadera. Five new stations will be built between there and the existing Rosh Ha'ayin North station at the end of the Tel Aviv-Hasharon branch line - Hadera Central, Ahituv, Taibe, Tira and Kfar Saba North.
From Rosh Ha'ayin North, the existing single track to Lod will be upgraded to double track with four more stations built - Rosh Ha'ayin South, Elad, Airport City, and Lod North.
Katz said, "The eastern track will bring about a strategic revolution in the national rail network by linking the north and south while bypassing the Gush Dan and the bottleneck on the Ayalon railway corridor. It will also create a cargo rail transport artery that will increase the conveyancing capacity from Haifa and Ashdod ports throughout the country."
He added that removing cargo trains from the coastal railway line will free up capacity for passenger traffic.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 15, 2016
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