ISRAEL: The Electra Infrastructures consortium has been selected as preferred bidder to undertake civil engineering works on the planned 30 km line between Rishon Le-Ziyyon and Modi’in, Israel Railways announced on September 10.

The electrified east-west line will largely follow the median of Highway 431, forming the southern part of a proposed 100 km rail loop around the Greater Tel Aviv Area; the Highway 531 line forming the northern section through Ra’anana was opened in July 2018.

Starting from Rishon Le-Ziyyon Moshe Dayan station on ISR’s Western Negev Line, the so-called 431 line will run via Rishon Le-Ziyyon Harishonim and Ramla South to Modi’in, with a junction at Anava connecting to the new A1 line to Jerusalem Navon. The alignment will have 6 km of elevated structures, including a 3·5 km viaduct which will be the longest railway bridge in Israel; this will take the line over Kiryat – Rishon Le-Ziyyon road interchange to reach the existing station at Rishon Le-Ziyyon Harishonim. There will also be three short tunnels, of which the longest will be 450 m. Two new stations are envisaged, at Rishon Le-Ziyyon Rhombus and Ramla South.

Total cost of the project is put at around US$900m, of which the Electra Infrastructures contact is valued at US$112m.

Expected to open in 2026, the line would initially be served by two trains/h in each direction, increasing to four once extra capacity has been provided at Modi’in and Jerusalem Navon stations. The line is expected to carry around 15 000 passengers/ day. Journey times from Rishon Le-Ziyyon Moshe Dayan to Modi’in would be cut from 60 min to 30 min, while the time to Jerusalem Navon would fall from 80 min to 45 min.