However, net profit for 2016 was slightly lower than in 2015 at Shekels 153m due to a one-time revenue difference in 2015 from the sale of property.

Passenger traffic in 2016 grew by 13% to 59.5 million journeys compared with 52.8 million in 2015. This continues a pattern of steady growth fueled by network expansion where traffic has increased by 66% since 2011 when the railway carried 35.9 million passengers.

However, passenger revenue fell by 9% last year to Shekels 195.4m due to a tariff reform introduced by the Ministry of Transport which cut fares.

Passenger train punctuality dropped from 95.4% in 2015 to 94.3% in 2016 due to the introduction of temporary speed restrictions resulting from engineering works.

Freight traffic has also been growing rapidly, with a 40% increase in volume since 2013. IR carried 9.2 million tonnes of freight in 2016, which was 23% more than the 7.5 million tonnes carried in 2015.

Freight revenue rose by 13% from Shekels 165m in 2015 to Shekels 51.6m in 2016. IR’s net profit from freight was Shekels 31m last year, almost double that in 2015.

IR invested more than Shekels 2bn in 2016 on four main projects: electrification, the A1 Tel Aviv - Jerusalem fast link due to open in March 2018, improvements to passenger stations, and upgrading Tel Aviv Savidor (Central) and Hashalom stations.