Chinese railway technologies promoting light rail construction in Israel

Chinese railway technologies are helping the Israeli city of Tel Aviv build its own light rail project and alleviate traffic pressure.

The Red Line project, which commenced in 2015, is the first light rail project in Tel Aviv. Crossing through the busiest districts of the city, it will be a line with the largest passenger volume, the greatest portion of underground sections and the toughest technological challenges.

The project will greatly relieve the city’s traffic congestion when it is completed in 2021.

China Railway Tunnel Group (CRTG) won the bid to build the light rail in May 2015, and it had broken through the three major tunnels that will be used by the line before the end of April this year.

The administrative manager of the project, Li Qiang, told People’s Daily that the project has a very high requirement on settlement control, since most parts of the transit system are under the city’s major roads.

As a result, the Chinese construction company adopted stable and reliable designs, successfully keeping the settlement within 3.5 millimeters.

Six shield tunneling machines have been used in the project, all of them being independently developed and produced by China Railway Engineering Equipment Group Co., LTD (CREG), according to Li.

“I didn’t feel any vibration when the shield tunneling machines were working, and I was standing right on Israel’s busiest Ayalon Highway,” said an Israeli officer.

Israel’s public transportation organ predicted that public transit use during rush hour in Tel Aviv will increase to around 40 percent from the current 20 to 28 percent upon completion of the project, and use of private cars will decrease by 12 percent. In addition, the light rail will reduce commute time in Tel Aviv by half.

By 2030, when the city caps its rail transit system, it’s estimated that a total of 1.4 million citizens will take the metro each day in Tel Aviv, a city that accounts for 40 percent of Israel’s population and half of the country’s employment.

Israeli project employee, Hill Tobe, said that what the Chinese have done is remarkable. Many people doubted whether the soil in Tel Aviv is qualified for metro construction, but the Chinese have made it possible, he added.

Chinese railway enterprises, together with Israel’s largest public transport operator Egged Bus Cooperative, won the bid to operate the Red Line last December.

It’s the first time that Chinese companies have participated in the city rail transit operation of a developed country, which marks China’s strong international competitiveness in foreign market.