The Shekels 4 billion ($US 1.12 billion) double-track line will be
built for 160km/h operation and will be used by passenger and freight

The initial tender covers the 6.5km section between Kfar-Baruch and
Adashim Creek near Afula. Tenders for the remainder of the line will be
issued this year, and the whole line will be completed by 2016.

The transport ministries of Israel and Jordan are currently planning
the next phase of the project, which will extend the line east over the
Sheikh Houssain Bridge to Irbid in Jordan.

The original Jezreel Valley branch of the 1050mm-gauge Hedjaz Railway
was built by the Ottomans in 1905. Regular operations ceased with the
creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and with total closure followed
three years later. Plans to build a standard gauge line as far as Afula
first emerged in the late 1950s and in 1988 it was decided to construct
a new line to Bet Sha'an, although the project was soon abandoned for a
second time.