Coastal rapid rail link plan filed for objection

A plan known as the National Infrastructure Plan 65a was recently filed for public objections. This is Israel Railways’ most important infrastructure project for the coming years, in which it will launch Phase A of commissioning high-speed trains, capable of reaching speeds of 250 kilometers per hour. , in Israel. This stage covers the northern section of the railway on which these trains will run, between Haifa and Herzliya. So why is the project barely known, what is it and how much will it cost us? “Globes” explains.

First connect two metropolises

It is above all an ambitious project to double the coast line between the two metropolises. Currently there are only two runways, one northbound and one southbound. The new plan provides for two lanes in each direction. One will accommodate trains at speeds of up to 250 km / h (the current maximum speed is 160 km / h) which will only make intermediate stops at Hadera. The second will operate in the current format of commuter trains stopping at ten stations. The National Infrastructure Plan 65a covers a 68-kilometer stretch between Hof Hacarmel station in Haifa and a proposed station in Shefayim, where there is currently no train station.

One of the reasons for proposing the construction of a station in Shefayim is a link with a vast project promoted by Netivei Ayalon involving the construction of a park and ride with 7,000 parking spaces from which shuttles will circulate quickly. lanes to the business centers of Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan. This project is budgeted and in progress.

Financing assured

In the recently adopted state budget, a five-year plan of NIS 46 billion was established for the Israeli railways. The main element of the plan is this project. A sum of NIS 15 billion is allocated for its planning and construction, but there is no budgetary provision for the cost of new rolling stock suitable for high-speed trains, which is estimated at several billion NIS. Although this is a five-year plan, the budget covers the entire project, which should be operational in 2030. The preamble to the plan states that it “will facilitate the growth of passenger traffic to 30,000 passengers per hour. rush hour. on the Haifa-Tel Aviv segment in each direction on all lines. “

Binyamina will lose her station

The project manager at Israel Railways is Vice President of Development Ilya Volkov. Speaking to “Globes”, he explained some of the complexity of the enormous project, “The project requires the construction of electrical infrastructure and various systems, among which modern control systems suitable for trains at 250 km / h, which are more advanced and quieter, the new generation of equipment that does not yet exist at Israel Railways. “

Apart from that, he says the project includes the diversion of the existing line at many points. “The main change on the line is the removal of Binyamina station and the construction of a new station east of Or Akiva.” The plan also proposes the construction of several other new stations, in Zichron Yaakov, in the Netanya region, and, as mentioned, in Shefayim. In addition, ten existing stations will be modernized, among other things by extending the platforms to 400 meters, to adapt them to future trains.

Who needs to know about the project?

Av. Zvi Shoob, an expert in planning, construction and real estate law, explains that the current stage of the plan, the objections stage, is critical for anyone who owns property along the itinerary. “This is a major plan that will have a significant impact on many landowners along the route. Large tracts of land will be expropriated. Due to a distortion of the law, neither at this point nor at the stage There is no requirement for plan approval to personally inform owners of expropriations. An owner may unknowingly have land marked for expropriation.

“The obligation to personally inform an owner only occurs at the stage of the actual expropriation, when the land is physically seized, but it is already too late, when the value of the land will be low, because it is zoned for a highway, and therefore the compensation will be minimal. Therefore, people with property along the road should already check what is reserved for them for their land and file early objections, in order to protect themselves and their property. “

The future: high-speed trains from Haifa to Jerusalem

The project to double the coastal rail line is, as mentioned, only the first stage of a large project in which trains at 250 km / h will be introduced. As part of the future plans (ambitious from a technical and budgetary point of view), the project will be extended to the south, with tracks 5 and 6 passing through Ben-Gurion airport to Jerusalem. This project is supposed to be completed by 2040, but at present it is not budgeted for.

Another planned extension is north from Haifa (National Infrastructure Plan 6b). Because it will require substantial changes to the Haifa waterfront, and because of opposition to the project expressed by the Haifa Municipality, it was separated from the project to double the coastline. Regarding plan 65a, the Municipality of Haifa told “Globes”, “The Municipality of Haifa welcomes the promotion of the plan to double the coastline and tunnel it in the Haifa region. The municipality will insist on promoting the plan to double the coastline and tunnel it in the Haifa region. that the landscaping and planning of the car park take into account and serve the users of the beaches and the Hof Hacarmel station as much as possible, both during the execution of the works and after their completion.

There are also plans in the future to connect Beersheva to a high-speed railway, so that Israel’s four metropolitan areas will be connected by trains at 250 km / h.

Posted by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – December 14, 2021.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.

Harry D. Gonzalez