Israel Railways has received the green light from the Ministry of Finance to make an immediate order of between 30 to 40 carriages from Bombardier as part of a 2010 tender that the Canadian company won.
These carriages will help ease the shortage of carriages created by the opening of the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv fast rail link last year. The Ministry of Finance has until now been opposed to the immediate procurement of carriages, despite the pressing need, because of criticism by the State Comptroller, who had demanded the no new carriages be obtained without a tender.
At the same time, Israel Railways will publish a tender to procure hundreds of carriages for billions of shekels.
The dispute between the Ministry of Finance and Israel Railways over the purchase of new carriages has been rumbling on for several years. Israel Railways repeatedly asks to buy new carriages using the 2010 tender and has been foot dragging over issuing a new tender.
In December 2017, for example, the Ministry of Finance permitted Israel Railways to order 48 carriages for €95 million, although it had asked for 52 carriages and said that it really needed 160 new carriages.
The dispute between Israel Railways and the Ministry of Finance has now ended but not before the quality of service to passengers has been hit.
Under the terms of the new tender, Israel Railways will buy carriages to renew its fleet of 680 carriages, most of them of the IC-3 type that are considered very old.
Meanwhile, Israel Railways management is trying to persuade Siemens to delay the delivery of electric carriages because they cannot be operated while the electrification of the railways is bogged down with the exception of the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv fast rail link. Siemens has apparently agreed to delay delivery until the beginning of 2021.
In December 2017, Israel Railways ordered 60 double-decker electric carriages for use on electrified tracks, and overall Siemens was meant to provide 330 such carriages starting in 2020 for €1.36 billion.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 26, 2019
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