\r\nUnder the plan, which was presented by IR deputy general manager for development Mr Reuben Kogan, the network is projected to grow from 1232km to 2572km between 2020 and 2040, with the number of stations increasing from 68 to 120. IR\u2019s passenger train fleet will almost triple from 139 in 2020 to 511 in 2040.\r\nThe plan allocates Shekels 94.78bn for infrastructure, and Shekels 19.26bn for rolling stock, Shekels 9.6bn for depots and stabling facilities, with an overall benefit:cost ratio of 1.0.\r\nPassenger numbers are forecast to grow from 59.5 million in 2017 to 81.2 million in 2020 and 306 million in 2040, with rail\u2019s share of the public transport market rising from 3% to 8% between 2020 and 2040. Rail\u2019s share of journeys of more than 50km would grow from 10% to 40% and the percentage of passengers able to reach Tel Aviv in less than 1h 30min would rise from 16% to 64%.\r\nPeak passenger services will increase from 50 trains in 2020 to 128 in 2040, with 96 services running at up to 160km\/h and 32 at a maximum of 250km\/h.\r\nAs the number of stations increases, IR envisages separate categories of inter-city and regional services to maintain rapid links between major towns and cities. IR general manager Mr Shahar Ayalon says double-track lines will be four-tracked and the Eastern Line between Kfar-Sava and Hadera East will be revived to enable direct links bypassing congested lines in the Tel-Aviv area.\r\nOn the core inter-city network lines will be widened from two to four tracks to enable 250km\/h operation. Lines earmarked for four-tracking comprise Tel Aviv - Haifa, Tel Aviv - Ayalon, Lod - Beer Sheva, and Ashkelon - Pleshet Junction. A 20km double-track tunnel between Tel Aviv Hahagana and Rishpon (north of Hertzliya) will provide six tracks on this section.\r\nThe plan, which was drawn up by IR and the ministries of transport and finance, has been sent to transport minister Mr Israel Katz for feedback before submission to the cabinet for approval.\r\n\u201cIsrael is undergoing a transportation revolution particularly on railways, but also on roads and at its ports,\u201d Katz said at the conference. \u201cThe government is interested in rail links with neighboring countries, as was the situation prior to 1948 [the foundation of Israel] and such links can only contribute to the peace and stability of the area.\u201d\r\nIR is proposing a number of cross-border links including a line to Lebanon; Jenin - West Bank; Hebron - West Bank; Eilat - Aqaba (Jordan); Ashkelon - Gaza; and a connection across the Sinai desert to Egypt, following the alignment of the former Ottoman railway.\r\nOther major projects in the strategic plan include:- Afula (Valley Line) - Hadera East- Lod station bypass, and- expansion of Ben Gurion Airport station.