ON FEBRUARY 7 Israel Railways awarded a US$12m contract for grade separation of three level crossings on the Kiryat Gat - Be'er Sheva line by the end of 2007.

This marked the start of a US$530m programme to eliminate most of ISR's level crossings within three years, approved by Transport Minister Meir Shitrit on January 15, in response to a collision at Revadim last year that killed eight people (RG 11.05 p676). Four more grade separations are planned on the Be'er Sheva route, and three at Binyamina totalling US$36m were authorised by the ministry on February 8.

The Revadim crossing was replaced at the beginning of February, bringing the total down to 154. All open crossings on ISR's passenger lines have now been eliminated or fitted with warning equipment, and new rules introduced for farm crossings. Up to 110 road crossings will be replaced by grade separations, and others will be closed.