ISRAEL RAILWAYS Managing Director Amos Uzani participated in ceremonies at Binyamina station on August 17 to mark completion of double-tracking between Tel Aviv and Haifa. This paves the way for additional express services, with a non-stop journey time of 45 min for the 92 km.
Upgrading has switched to the Tel Aviv - Beer Sheva line, for which the government has allocated US$27m. Doubling and realignment of Lod - Naan is to be completed by the end of the year. Projects to start shortly include remodelling of Kiryat Gat, a new station at Ben Gurion University and a short extension into the centre of Beer Sheva.
IR's efforts are paying off in increased patronage; ridership in the first half of 1998 was 24% up on the same period last year, at 3·1 million journeys. Extra rolling stock is needed, and IR has shortlisted Bombardier-DWA, MSV/Adtranz and Alstom Transport to supply double-deck trains. A decision is due on November 1 with the contract to be awarded two weeks later. IR had shortlisted Bombardier-DWA, Adtranz and Fiat for a build of tilting DMUs, but this was annulled on September 13 because of legal complications. A revised tender invitation was to be issued by the end of the month. o