Railway to Beersheba

The Railway to Beersheba ( _he. מסילת הרכבת לבאר שבע, "Mesilat HaRakevet LeVe'er Sheva") is the common name for the railroad which currently stretches from central Israel to the Zin Factories (Mount Zin) in southern Israel, with spurs to the Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station, Ramat Hovav and the Arad phosphate mines and factories in Tzefa. It is part of the main line of Israel Railways, of which the northern starting point of the line designated as the "line to Beersheba" is usually indicated as beginning at Na'an junction, where the railway splits to Beersheba and Jerusalem. Because the line is not limited to Beersheba, it is often called the Southern Railway in Israeli context.

Since the opening of the Dimona Railway Station in 2005, it has been used for passenger service from Nahariya to Be'er Sheba Center and from Be'er Sheva North to Dimona. The other two spurs are used exclusively for freight services.

History

The railway traces its origins to the Ottoman rule in Palestine and World War I. The main Turkish objective in the Middle East during the war was to either capture or disable the Suez Canal, which would have put the British Empire at a great disadvantage. However, transporting troops and supplies from Constantinople to the front lines took months by camel caravan.Cite book|title=The Railways of Palestine and Israel|author=Cotterell, Paul|publisher=Tourret Publishing|location=Abingdon, UK|isbn=0-905878-04-3|year=1986|chapter=Chapter 3|pages=pp. 14-31]

After his ill-fated assault on the British garrison along the canal in January-February, 1915, Jamal Pasha enlisted the help of the German engineer Heirich August Meissner, who also planned the Hejaz Railway, to help him find a more efficient method of logistics. Meissner started constructing a railway to the south of the Palestine region, with the Wadi Surar (Nahal Sorek) station serving as the starting point. Two railways were originally built: one to Beit Hanoun, and the other to Beersheba. The two lines were collectively called the 'Egyptian Branch'.

Because construction costs were high and materials hard to come by, the Jaffa-Lydda section of the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway, as well as the extension to Acre of the Jezreel Valley railway were dismantled and their infrastructure reused on the Beersheba section. The Lydda-Wadi Surar section, previously of 1m narrow gauge, was converted to the Hejaz railway width of 1.05m narrow gauge standard, in order to be of use with the lines to the south. In the north, the Hejaz railway was connected to Lydda (now Lod) via Tulkarm, and offered continuous service from Damascus to Beersheba.

The line to Beersheba opened for traffic in the middle of October 1915, just 9 months from the start of construction. The rest of the planned Egyptian branch was never completed, although Meissner managed to continue to line from Beersheba further south to Kusseima in the Sinai Peninsula. The line was connected to the coastal line with Qantarah by the British near Rafah by May 3, 1918, and the old connection to the north through Wadi Surar was discarded because it was not standard gauge. In 1927, the line between Beersheba and Qantara was also discontinued, citing low usage and high maintenance costs.

After the Israeli War of Independence the route was slowly refined and converted to standard gauge by Israel Railways, and was originally meant for freight-only service. The new line was completed in 1956 and passenger service was added. Construction on the extensions to Dimona, Zin and Tzefa began shortly after. In 1967 the line reached Dimona, Oron in 1970 and Mount Zin in 1977. With the eventual decline of Israel Railways's passenger business, the passenger service to Beersheba was halted in 1979.

In the early-to-mid-1990s the line underwent another renovation which facilitated the renewal of passenger service, first to Beersheba North in 1997, then extended to the city's center with the opening of Beersheba Center in 2000. Nevertheless, the ride from Beersheba to Tel Aviv remained lengthy due to the long stretch of railway from Lod to Beersheba consisting only of single track with sharp curves and other geometrical deficiencies as well as several at-grade road-rail intersections.

Passenger service

There are currently 3 Israel Railways passenger lines using the railway to Beersheba. The Nahariya-Beersheba and Tel Aviv Center-Beersheba services are deployed on the same route, via Lod. In the 2007 timetable, this line also passed through Ben Gurion Airport, running on a section of the new railway to Jerusalem. The line, south of Na'an junction, has the following stations:
*Kiryat Gat
*Lehavim-Rahat
*Be'er Sheva North
*Be'er Sheva CenterAn additional station is planned near Kfar Menahem and Route 383, mainly to serve the nearby city Kiryat Mal'akhi and the bus terminal at Mal'akhi Junction.

The second service is a low-capacity 2-station line from Beersheba North to Dimona.

Current status and future plans

Today (2008), the entire line is being essentially completely rebuilt, with its its curves straightened, the entire line double tracked, and all at-grade intersections being separated by bridges or tunnels. By 2011 this work is expected to greatly reduce the travel time from Tel Aviv to Beersheba and allow many more trains to operate along the route at any given point.

Plans have been approved for the line to be further extended southward, through the Arava, in order to provide both a passenger and freight service to Eilat on the Red Sea.Cite news|url=http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3520156,00.html|title=Mofaz Decided: A Railway to Eilat Will Be Built|author=Hazelkorn, Shahar|date=2008-03-17|accessdate=2008-04-19] A line to Arad will also be built, via the Nevatim Airbase and Kuseife. An extension will also be built for the Ramat Hovav and Ramat Beka industrial zones to the south,Cite map|year=1999|publisher=Survey of Israel|title=Railway Network Map - Israel Railways] with a passenger service to the City of Training Bases, a future southern Israel Defense Forces base in the area.

ee also

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beersheba — Infobox Israel municipality name=Beersheba caption= imgsize=70 |imgsize3=250 caption3= hebname=Hebrew|בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע arname=بئر السبع meaning=Well of the Oath or Seven Wells(see also) founded= type=city typefrom= stdHeb= altOffSp= altUnoSp=… …   Wikipedia

  • BEERSHEBA — (biblical: Beer Sheba; Heb. בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע), city in the negev on the southern border of Judah; its name has been preserved in the Arabic form Bīr (Beʾr) al Saʿb. Beersheba was first settled in the Chalcolithic period. Excavations conducted in its …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Beersheba — /bear shee beuh, bear sheuh /; Seph. Heb. /berdd she vah/, n. 1. a city in Israel, near the N limit of the Negev desert: the southernmost city of ancient Palestine. 109,600. 2. from Dan to Beersheba. See Dan (def. 4). * * * City (pop., 1999 est …   Universalium

  • Coastal railway line, Israel — The Coastal railway line is a mainline railway in Israel, which begins just south of the Lebanon Israel border on the Mediterranean coast, near the town of Nahariya in Northern Israel and currently ends in Tel Aviv; by 2013 it will be linked to… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Beersheba — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Beersheba caption=A photograph reputed to depict the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba, or a re enactment. partof=First World War date=31 October 1917 place=Beersheba, southern… …   Wikipedia

  • Be'er Sheva North Railway Station — Infobox Station name=Be er Sheva North type= Israel Railways image size=270 image caption= address=Haharoshet St coordinates= line= Nahariya Beersheba Tel Aviv Beersheba other= Connection to Dimona Railway Station structure= platform=3 depth=… …   Wikipedia

  • Jaffa–Jerusalem railway — The Jaffa–Jerusalem railway, sometimes shortened to J J or called the Tel Aviv–Jerusalem railway, is a historical railroad between the cities Jaffa and Jerusalem, originally completed in 1892 in Ottoman Palestine, and partly still used in Israel… …   Wikipedia

  • Dimona Railway Station — (Hebrew: תחנת הרכבת דימונה‎, Takhanat HaRakevet Dimona) is a train station in Dimona, Israel opened in 2005. It is a 35km line between Dimona and Beersheba. It is a separate operating line within Israel Railways. The actual track carries on… …   Wikipedia

  • Acre Railway Station — ( he. תחנת הרכבת עכו, Taḥanat HaRakevet Akko ) is an Israel Railways passenger station serving the city of Acre (Akko) and the surrounding towns and villages. Location The station is situated on the North South coastal line. The Station is… …   Wikipedia

  • Ramla Railway Station — is a railway station in Ramla, Israel on the Kfar Saba – Beit Shemesh line. The station located in the east of Ramla.Although Ramla is on an inter city railway line, the trains are operated by the Suburban Division of Israel Railways. There is an …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.