Rail Transport in Israel

Rail transport in Israel includes heavy rail (inter-city, commuter, and freight rail) as well as light rail. Excluding light rail, the network consists of 1,001 kilometers (622 mi) of track, and is undergoing constant expansion. All of the lines are standard gauge and as of 2012 all of the heavy rail lines are not electrified. A government owned company, Israel Railways, manages the entire heavy rail network. Most of the network is located on the densely populated coastal plain. The only light rail line in Israel is the Jerusalem Light Rail, though another line in Tel Aviv is currently under construction.

Many of the rail routes in Israel date back to before the establishment of the state – to the days of the British Mandate for Palestine and earlier. Rail infrastructure was considered less important than road infrastructure during the state's early years, and except for the construction of the coastal railway in the early 1950s, the network saw little investment until the late 1980s. In 1993, a rail connection was opened between the coastal railway from the north and southern lines (the railway to Jerusalem and railway to Beersheba) through Tel Aviv. Previously the only connection between northern railways and southern railways bypassed the Tel Aviv region – Israel's population and commercial center. The linking of the nationwide rail network through the heart of Tel Aviv was a major factor in facilitating further expansion in the overall network during in the 1990s and 2000s and as a result of the heavy infrastructure investments passenger traffic rose significantly, from about 2.5 million per year in 1990 to about 36 million in 2010.

Israel is a member of the International Union of Railways and its UIC country code is 95. Currently, the country does not have railway links to adjacent countries, but one such link is planned with Jordan. Unlike road vehicles (including trams), Israeli railway trains run on the left hand tracks.

Read more about Rail Transport In IsraelHistory, Passenger Traffic, Freight, Rail Links To Adjacent Countries

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