Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Israel November 2018

First new country I’ve done for a while! A first trip to Israel, not somewhere you would perhaps associate with one of the most intensive diesel bashes I’ve done yet. There is a basic north-south network from Haifa through Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva with a core section running through four Tel Aviv station. This sees up to 12tph loco-hauled in the peaks so is very much non-stop action. The passenger fleet consists of 86 locos which are all GM710 powered in three classes of which around 65 are in use each day with all but six passing through Tel Aviv spin city! As with the countries general profile the network is rapidly expanding with two new lines having opened in 2018 and a further extension imminent.

Israeli ’67’ clone 776 arrives at Tel Aviv University from the north. These are essentially the same as the UK ones except don’t appear to have ETH equipment as the stock contains a generator in the driving trailer.

One of the 1300s, (Eurolight 3200, IR 1301-1324) 1315 pushes away from Tel Aviv University with a service towards Ra’anana West which is a service group which runs from Be’er Sheva via Askelon on a secondary route. Sadly no 68-style thrash on these just the ying of a 710 power unit.

Off-peak, an hourly service runs between Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva. 774 pushes a rake of dostos out of Tel Aviv Savidor into the carriage sidings after arriving with the 1053 ex Be’er Sheva Central. The route though Tel Aviv is pinned between the two sections of the Avalon Highway as is the Avalon River seen here to the right.

1401 is a representative of the other Eurolight class, 1401-1415 (Eurolight 4000, Co-Co, 2011-2016) which were originally planned for freight duties but have been pressed into passenger use as the ever-expanding network requires further locos. A short rake is being pushed north to Ra’anana West which is a line shortly to be extended through to rejoin the mainline at Hertzliya.

Even the carts are familiar! A fleet of new to Israel and some ex-SJ “rubber ring” rancidity operate a near-hourly service between Hertzliya and Bet Smemesh, which is on the old route to Jerusalem. Some peak hour lash up were 5×3-car, in past years they have operated more services but reliability issues and strengthening requirements have seen there use retract. 751 (not the usual accompaniment to those numbers on this site!) is racing it north out of Tel Aviv Central to University where the line divides.

North of Haifa, the mainline to Nahriya has through services all day to Tel Aviv whilst the branches to Karmiel and Bet Shean are operated by six self-contained sets which are the only locos you can’t spin at Tel Aviv. Karmiel then has peak trains through to Be’er Sheva in the south whilst the (newish) Bet Shean branch is worked by short rakes of single-decker Alsthom stock with the peak additionals being carts.  I think 1320 at Haifa Central has come in from Karmiel and will terminate at Haifa Hofcarmel. We spent longer than planned getting back to Tel Aviv due to some riot occurring, thankfully it wasn’t one of the regular security issues and just some railway farce but about the only time we spent slightly worried about what was going on!

Skips 733 and 769 at Tel Aviv Savidor Center under a part of the very shiny and tall Tel Aviv skyline. It was much more Americanised than i expected – this is the usual reaction according to most of the locals we talked too. It’s not a cheap country (similar to Switzerland rather than Scandinavia) but I’d recommend it for a bash thats a bit different. We did Tel Aviv beach, Haifa and Jerusalem between the peaks in our three days and could have done with another to do more of the track, or I’d have been more than happy with another day on Tel Aviv beach!

The new order… Traxx 187 clone 3004 at the new Jerusalem Navon station deep under the new town. This is a “high speed” link slowly, very slowly, being built and then electrified to Tel Aviv with eventual grand plans to wire the network. However its taken them 10 years to get the relatively short section of new line from here to Tel Aviv Airport open. Even then thats the extent of the wires, when the locos/stock require attention they have to be dragged back to Lod depot by the thunderbird diesel! Jerusalem by the way was fascinating, so I’m glad this line had opened as we would have been unlikely to have bothered via the old line as thats solid ‘rubber ring’ territory due to the state of the track. The new line technically also passes through the occupied West Bank but for nearly all of said mileage has been hidden underground.

 

Ticketing was as easy as anywhere I’ve done. A ‘Ravkat’ is the local smartcard and there are area, mixed area (ie Tel Aviv and Haifa, no leaving stations in between the two areas) and national day rovers which are also integrated for buses and trams. The amount of big guns being carted around by youngsters going to/from national service does take a bit of getting used to. Whilst every station does have a security checkpoint on entry this is pretty laid back (well as long as you are the right color – I won’t say any more of the politics!) and once you are through the gateline are free to spin as you please. We did attempt to blend in and not hover too long at stations away from Savidor Central – largely due to wedged platforms making it difficult anyway – but no questions asked about what we were up to. Can’t think of much else to add so just a thanks to Dan for the trip organizing and Sutty and Denzil (amongst others) for gen and help. Any questions there should be a comment box and I’ll do my best.

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Posted December 4, 2018 by redcow87015 in Euro Nedding, Israel, Uncategorized