Trains will begin operating on the Karmiel - Akko railway line tomorrow morning, the Ministry of Transportation has announced. The line links up with the Haifa - Nahariya line, south of Akko station and north of Kiryat Motzkin station and there are direct services from Karmiel to Tel Aviv.
The project, which was built by the Netivei Israel National Transport Infrastructure Co. Ltd., cost NIS 2.8 billion and involves a double track along 23 kilometers with stations at Karmiel and Ahihud. For the most part running parallel to Road 85, the new line includes the 4.6 kilometer Gillon Tunnels.
Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon has signed an order allowing residents of the region to travel by train for free in the first three months and at a 50% discount for the two years after that. This special offer had only been originally planned for the residents of Karmiel and Ahihud but it was expanded to include 15 Arab towns after protests from minority rights group Sikkuy - the Association for the advancement of Civic Equality.
Two more stations are planned along the new line at the Arab towns of Jadeidi-Makr and Majd al-Krum. In the future the Karmiel line will be extended northeast to Kiryat Shmona.
The Karmiel line is part of the massive expansion of Israel Railways. In recent years, new lines have been built to the Negev development towns of Sderot, Netivot and Ofakim as well as between Haifa, Afula and Beit Shean in the north. Next year, the Tel Aviv - Jerusalem fast rail link is scheduled to open.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 19, 2017
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