Enthusiast

The Railways of Israel (Enthusiast)

14 to 21 March
Israel

Join us on PTGs first visit to Israel, and a railtour which will visit most of the freight lines in the country over three days, appropriately using a selection of freight locomotives to supplement one of the few freight locomotives still fitted with door opening controls which must be part of our special train.

Israel has a modern and efficient railway network which is still expanding with new lines being built and electrification works in progress. Most trains are diesel hauled and the intensive service on most lines mean it is difficult to accommodate special trains. As a result we will concentrate on the freight lines as it is quite straightforward to buy passes for parts of the network and travel the passenger lines independently. The reason for the tour being Monday – Wednesday is that no trains run from Friday afternoons until Saturday evenings which is the Jewish Sabbath.

Be aware that Israel is an expensive country with high hotel prices. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost around £13.16 compared to £12 in the UK and a beer around £6. Some things are cheaper – for example a taxi costs about £1.20 a mile compared to around £2.50 in the UK.

Highlights

  • Private charter train
  • freight only lines
  • Ancient wonders

Tour Manager: Phil  contact phil@ptg.co.uk 

From: Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh

 

Enthusiast Itinerary

This is the itinerary for railway enthusiasts – a rail and culture itinerary is also available.

Day 1 Saturday 14 March Direct flights to Tel Aviv from London Heathrow (08:05 or 21:10), Luton (14:00) and Stansted (13:55). Indirect flights from Birmingham (11:00 via Bucharest), Manchester (11:00 via Istanbul) and Edinburgh (08:00 via Paphos). Transport to hotel by road. Saturday is the Sabbath so no trains running. Night in Tel Aviv.

Day 2 Sunday 15 March (B) Escorted travel around the network on passenger trains not covered by the freight tour, this will be continued on Thursday to do the remaining lines. Night in Tel Aviv.

   

Day 3 Monday 16 March (B) This morning we transfer by coach or train to Rosh Ha’Ayin North (which is east of Tel Aviv), because this is operationally more convenient for Israel Railways than busy Tel Aviv. South of the station is a triangle giving access to the freight only line to Lod, occasionally used for diversions. South of Lod we join passenger metals and proceed south towards Ashkelon, diverging west at a triangle onto the freight line to Ashdod Miyun yard. We expect to continue from here into Ashdod docks. When we return we take the west to south side of the triangle and head south towards Ashkelon. For those looking at a map and wondering why we are not going to Rutenberg power station the answer is simple. The line is out of use and disconnected. Instead we take the Kheletz line, which is a west to east freight connection to Kiryat Gat. It is likely we will have a couple of photo-stops on this lightly used line. From Kiryat Gat we are on the line to the southern city of Be’er Sheva our stop for the night, but we continue through and take the freight line to Ramat Hovev, home to a vast array of chemical industries, where we may visit the freight terminal before returning to Be’er Sheva. Night in Be’er Sheva.

Day 4 Tuesday 17 March (B) Today we venture into the northern part of the Negev desert on freight lines built to transport minerals and phosphate. First we take the line to Dimona, the end of the passenger service, and with a locomotive depot which we hope to visit. On to freight lines now, eastwards to a triangle where we continue line east to Zefa and the Rotem Industrial area where there chemical industries as well as mining for phosphates and oil shale. When we return we take the east to south side of the triangle to access the long branch to the Zin phosphate mine, where we may visit the freight terminal. Now we retrace our route, doing the third side of the triangle, to Dimona and Be’er Sheva North. We hope to have a fast run to Tel Aviv BS back to Lod then north to Rosh Haayin and then to Bnei Brak. The station is the first on the line to Rosh Ha’Ayin – an important consideration for tomorrow! Transfer to Tel Aviv hotel.

Wednesday 18 March (B) (Assuming we start from Bnei Brak) Our final day starts from Bnei Brak station and we head west towards Tel Aviv, this time taking the east to north freight only curve towards Haifa where we will visit several freight spurs, but en-route we pause to take the freight branch to Hadera East. Haifa is a delightful city on the Mediteranean with a colourful temple of the Baha’i faith. We hope to visit the loco depot before tackling the freight line which runs south east to a major oil refinery. Once we return a visit to the Qishon Workshops is planned before we visit the short branch to Qishon Port, and finally the branch to Haifa Port, all subject to final approval. Available freight line finished we end the tour with a visit to the National Railway Museum. Night at Haifa hotel.

Thursday 19 March (B) Continue travelling on the regular lines as necessary or maybe Night at Haifa hotel.

Friday 20 March (B) We recommend you make a full week of it and today you might want to take the cable car to the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery and Elijah’s Cave or head for fabled Jerusalem. Possibly a chance to travel on the extensive tram system in Jerusalem. Or join our culture tour for two nights in Nazareth. Option to return to UK today.

Saturday 21 March (B) Return flights to the UK.

For those continuing onto our Jordan tour we will transfer by road from Nazareth to Amman. Journey time is around 3 hours but allow an extra hour for border crossing checks.

 

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person) – TBC

  • From London Heathrow: £2,280
  • From Luton: £2,175
  • From Stansted: £2,175
  • From Birmingham: £2,250 (via Bucharest)
  • From Manchester: £2,250 (via Istanbul)
  • From Edinburgh: £2,190 (via Paphos)
  • Joining in Tel Aviv: £1,850
  • Train Only: £1,250
    (includes special train and rover ticket for service trains)

Prices based on minimum of 30 passengers. For 40 passengers the price reduces by £150 per person and for 50 passengers by £250. Based on 1.28 GBP to USD.

 

Options

  • Single room supplement: £420
  • Half board at hotels: TBC

Deposit

  • £300 with own flights
  • £1,000 with flights included
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