Service on the light rail network that is currently under construction in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area will only begin in 2018, Israel Railways vice president for infrastructure development Reuven Kogan told a transportation conference on Thursday.
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Other plans to upgrade and expand the country’s rail network are also proceeding more slowly than initially planned, Kogan admitted.
The chairman of the company that is building the system, Alex Wiznitzer of NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System, said the first part of the network that is slated to go online, the red line, would definitely be operational by 2021 and might begin operation before then.
Kogan acknowledged that plans to switch the national rail system to electricity-powered locomotives was proceeding slowly.
Approval was recently secured for a tender for 80 electric locomotives at a cost of 2 billion shekels ($582 million).
Kogan said that an additional tender — 4 billion shekels for electric infrastructure for the railway —will be published soon, in addition to invitation for bids on electric railway passenger cars.
The first electrified train line, which will run between Jerusalem and Herzliya, will only be operation in late 2017 or early 2018, Kogan said.
Around the same time, electrical work on a new line between Haifa and the Galilee town of Carmiel is also expected to be wrapped up.
Work on the ground will not begin before 2016, which is the same year that according to initial plans the train service itself was to begin.
In a related development, Canada’s Bombardier and Siemens of Germany announced that they would not be bidding on the rolling stock for the Tel Aviv light rail system.