The decree follows a head-on collision between two double-deck passenger trains just south of Netanya station on April 7 in which 71 people were injured. The driver of one train is believed to have passed a signal at danger. Katz has instructed IR to install surveillance devices to monitor driver behaviour, due to many instances of drivers passing signals at danger resulting in collisions.

"Trains are not supposed to be a battlefield," says Katz. "Railways must be safe and I don't intend to compromise on safety."

Under the programme, IR will be expected to consider all aspects of railway operation: train maintenance, drivers' training, and inspection of daily staff behaviour. Katz says an inspection will be carried out by an external independent body.