Government Authorizes Resurrection of Jezreel Valley Railway

Israel to rebuild Ottoman line connecting coastal city of Haifa with Beit She'an.

The government on Sunday authorized the multi-million dollar reconstruction of the Jezreel Valley railway that will link the coastal city of Haifa with Beit She'an in the Jordan Valley.

The line will follow the route of the defunct Jezreel Valley railway built by Turkish authorities some 100 years ago as part of the Hijaz rail line that connected Haifa with Damascus and other parts of the Ottoman Empire.

"The line is part of a massive investment in improving the infrastructure and spread of the railways," Shamai Yosef, a leading architect for the project, said.

Unlike the original railway line whose leisurely pace was a matter of notoriety, the new train is said to travel at a speed of 160 kilometers an hour.

Plans are in place to extend the line across the border, connecting Beit She'an with the city of Irbid on the other side of the Jordan valley and allowing Jordanian products to be exported through Haifa's port.