Israel Railways
As Israel expands and modernizes its diesel-powered train fleet, its railway agency is seeking global bids to electrify rail lines to boost speeds and cut pollution.


Nearly a decade after planning began to electrify 420 kilometers of Israel's diesel-powered rail lines, the country now is seeking bids for an estimated $2-billion project to engineer, construct and maintain the repowered network.

State-owned Israel Railways Co., which runs all intercity, commuter and freight rail transport in Israel, and the country's state-owned roadbuilding company have issued an international tender for the project, with bids due on Dec. 31.

Israeli transportation officials consider the repowering project a top priority as passenger and commercial rail traffic expand in the country.

Israel Railways General Manager Boaz Zarir says the repowering "will be the basis" for higher speeds, added passenger capacity and higher freight volumes. While the maximum speed for diesel trains hits 140 km per hour, the maximum speed for the electrified lines will be 230 km per hour, he says. Pollution levels also will decline, officials say.

The work calls for 25-kV, 50-Hz AC electrification, construction of 14 transformer stations, purchase of rolling stock, upgrades to maintenance facilities, and new signaling and control systems.

The project also involves existing and new track. The electrification includes the major coastal line, which runs from the city of Ramat Hovav in southern Israel to Nahariya in the north.

Worksites will include the high-speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem and Acre-Carmiel lines, which are currently under construction.  

Preliminary design work was begun in 2002 by Israel-based TEDEM Civil Engineering Ltd. Last year, Israel Railways selected Yanai Ltd.-Electrical Engineering for a detailed design of the system.

The timetable calls for completion of the electrification by 2018.