Opening of the Yavne West - Ashdod line.

ISRAEL: A US$3·2bn programme to electrify 420 km of existing and planned railway was approved by the Committee for National Infrastructure on August 12.

The first lines to be electrified at 25 kV 50 Hz would be the future 23 km 'Akko - Karmi'el route and Tel Aviv - Jerusalem fast line, including the branch to Modi'in. Tenders are to be called in the first quarter of 2014.

Transport Minister Israel Katz said electrification was a milestone in the railway's history, and would significantly improve punctuality, raise speeds, cut journey times, and reduce air pollution and road congestion.

  • The Yavne - Pleshet Junction line opened on August 4, completing the final section of the direct route between Tel Aviv and Ashdod. This reduces journey time by 10 min compared to the circuitous route via Lod.