Israel Railways, the operator of the national heavy rail system, is a Government company, serving as the execution and operation arm of the Ministry of Transport.

The Railways in Israel began its activity at the end of the 19th century, with the laying of the first railway track (the Jaffa - Jerusalem railway line) during the Ottoman rule. The railway later operated under the rule of the British Mandate and, upon the establishment of the State of Israel, its facilities and assets were transferred to the control of the State of Israel, when the company was declared as: “Israel Railways”. 

Israel Railways has 69 stations throughout the country and it operates about 700 trains daily, connecting the major metropolitan areas in Israel as well as cities, towns and rural villages, throughout the State of Israel. 

As part of the Israel Railway’s vision to provide a high-level, safe and green oriented service, large scale infrastructure projects are being promoted, the main one being the transition project from diesel propulsion to propulsion using electricity. As part of the project, about 450 km. of track are being electrified and fast, environmentally friendly and modern electric locomotives and carriages were purchased. 
As part of the strategic plan for 2040, Israel Railways is expected to make about 300 million trips a year. Many projects are currently being promoted to expand the rail network and to add new passenger stations

Among the national projects of Israel Railways: 

  • Development of new lines and construction of stations: The Eastern Railway Line Project, the 431 Railway Line Project, the Modi’in Arc, the Sharon Ring, the railway line to Kiryat Shmona, etc. 
  • Doubling and upgrading existing railway tracks for the purpose of transporting a larger capacity of passengers and cargo and for expanding the activity of cargo and passengers: Doubling the coastal tracks, laying a fifth track in Be’er Sheva, a fourth track on the Ayalon route, etc. 
  • The transition to an advanced signaling system, based on the ETCS Level 2 cellular system, which will improve travel safety and passenger service. 
  • The Establishment of road / railway track separations in favor of the cancellation of level crossing junctions. 

Subsidiaries of Israel Railways 

The subsidiaries of Israel Railways serve as an economic growth engine for the railways and develop the real estate and cargo areas. 

  • The subsidiary for the development of real estate complexes – is engaged in the development and construction of new stations, integrating with commercial and employment centers. These multi-purpose centers allow efficient use of the station complex itself and its development into a mall, office buildings and leisure space. Thus the passenger is afforded a total experience.
  • The cargo subsidiary – is involved in the development of infrastructure and the improvement of cargo transport on the railway tracks, with a view to preserving the environment and reducing the risks involved in transport trucks travelling on the country’s roads. The freight trains of the Israel Railways carry loads of various types, including: Hazardous materials, grains and import and export items.

Interesting facts about the Israel Railways 

  • Israel Railways carries more than 270,000 passengers daily. 
  • About 700 passenger and cargo trains are operated daily and travel a distance of about 50,000 kilometers. One passenger train replaces about 1,000 motorcars and about 17 buses. 
  • One freight train replaces close to 70 freight trucks, thus helping to reduce the number of trucks on the country’s roads, reducing air pollution, road congestion and road accidents. 
  • Every year, the train transports more than 65,000 passengers with disabilities to 69 fully accessible stations. Thanks to all these, the train is the only intercity public transport and most preferred by passengers with disabilities. 
  • Over the past five years, the number of train passengers has doubled from about 35 million passengers a year, to about 70 million passengers a year. 

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