January 12, 2015

Israel Railways first year of profit after several years of losses

Written by  Angus Hammond
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ISRAEL Railways (IR) has reported a profit of Shekels 143.8m ($US 36.4m) for the first three quarters of 2014 compared with losses for the previous five years.

In 2009 IR reported losses totalling $US 104m, which became steadily worse through 2010-11, with losses of $US 165m and $US 185.8m respectively. In 2012-13, IR managed to stabilise its losses at $US 156.2m in 2012 and $US 157.86m in 2013, before returning a profit in 2014.

Despite the "Solid Rock" military operation in Gaza, which caused a serious reduction in passenger traffic during July, passenger traffic during the third quarter of 2014 reached 35.46 million journeys – up by 8.1% on the same quarter for 2013. During December 2014, the railway recorded 4.7 million passenger journeys, the highest monthly record it has ever achieved.

Further improvements were achieved in 2014 in the operational efficiency of the railway compared with 2013. Over 90% of scheduled trains were operated, compared with an average of 70% in 2013. Punctuality was also vastly improved - with 85% of trains arriving on time at their destination compared with 45% for the previous year.

Israel Railways general manager, Mr Boaz Zafrir, said: "Thinking business, improving efficiency, and significant investments in service, are bringing a rise in passenger and freight traffic as well as in profit; as a company committed to the passenger, the profit will be invested in further service improvements."

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