THE Israeli government is considering several projects to expand the 1200km rail network within the country and possibly to neighbouring countries which would involve building around 800km of new lines by 2040 as well as schemes to increase capacity. Electrification of the entire network is also envisaged.

The projects under consideration include:

A new station at Anava at the junction of the lines to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem and Modi'in, also served by the new line under construction via Be’er Yaakov to Rishon Lezion which will become a bypass for all traffic from Jerusalem and Modi'in to cities and ports south of Tel Aviv.

An extra set of tracks running north-south through Tel Aviv to enable train frequency to be almost doubled. To improve reliability and operating efficiency it is also planned to install ATO though Tel Aviv so that trains can operate automatically.

A new 125km double-track line running parallel to and west of Highway 6 from Kiryat Gat to beyond Yokne'am east of Afula on the Valley line.

A two-stage underground extension of the Tel Aviv - Jerusalem A1 link from Jerusalem Navon station to Zion Square and the Oid City in the neighbourhood of Talpi'yot. Stage 2 of the project will extend the line into Gush Etzion, a residential area south of Jerusalem with around 40,000 inhabitants.

A 50km extension of the Haifa - Carmiel line east to Zefat and then north to Qiryat Shemona with a 25km branch line running southeast to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.

An extension of the Afula line into Jordan mainly for freight but with the possibility of providing a passenger service for Hajj pilgrims.

A new north-south double-track line built in the median strip of a four-lane highway from Nazareth and Afula to Be’er Sheva that would become the spine of Israel. The line would be about 175km long and have 22 stations.

Two new lines from Be'er Sheva and Ofakim to serve Israeli Defence Forces bases in the Negev.

A 250km freight line from the Mediterranean port of Ashdod running south to Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba.

A connection to Saudi Arabia, which would mean traversing Jordan. This could be achieved by extending the proposed line to Eilat to the planned new city of Neom in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

Finally, a new, and possibly high-speed, line is proposed from Tel Aviv to Cairo running across the north of the Sinai desert in Egypt.

For more data on Middle Eastern rail projects, subscribe to IRJ Pro.