The expansion of the national network is putting strain on human resources in the Israeli rail sector.

ISRAEL: The first intake of students is expected to enrol in May at the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa as ISR and the Ministry of Transport launch a programme to train more track engineers.

Historically, the national railway was able to draw on a large community of permanent way specialists who had emigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. However, that pool is now drying up as many experienced engineers approach retirement, while pressure on resources is mounting as the country takes on a major rail and mass transit expansion programme.

The course at the Technion Institute will be the first in the country to offer a degree qualification in Mechanical & Civil Engineering and a specific qualification in track design and maintenance. Lectures will be taught both by Technion academics and by staff from the Railroad Engineering & Safety course at the University of Delaware.

Transport Minister Israel Katz says that the ‘unprecedented growth of the network’ has created ‘a crucial need for an academic route to create skilled track engineers’, which he is hopeful the course would be able to fill.