Jaffa - Jerusalem railwayJaffa - Jerusalem railway

Jaffa - Jerusalem railwayJaffa - Jerusalem railway Huberman

  • Issue: June 1992
  • Designer: A. Vanooijen
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 157 - 160
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

In 1888, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire granted a concession to Yosef Navon, a Jerusalem Jew, for building a railway between Jaffa and Jerusalem. Due to a lack of financial resources, Navon transferred his rights to a group of French capitalists. Construction lasted about two and a half years, and on the 5th of Tishrei, 5653 (26.9.1892), the railroad was inaugurated. The first locomotives and cars were manufactured in the United States and purchased from the De Leseps company after it failed to dig the Panama Canal and went bankrupt. The railroad was 87 kilometres long with a narrow gauge of 100 centimetres. Following World War I, the tracks were adjusted to a standard gauge of 143.5 centimetres which is customary today.

At first, a daily train ran in each direction. The journey took three hours and fifty minutes. Later on, the ride .was reduced by twenty minutes and the trains were more frequent as well: two or three ran in each direction every day.

When the First World War broke out, the routine of daily life in Eretz Israel was disrupted.

In 1915, the Turks disassembled the rails between Jaffa and Lod, in order to build a railroad from the Soreq River to Beersheva, Nitsana and Northern Sinai. The British conquest, of the country was aided by the construction of a railroad from Kantara on the Suez Canal to Erefz Israel along the Sinai coast. Out of tactical consideration, the British changed the route of their railroad from Deir-Suneid (north of Gaza) to Lod. They later laid a narrow gauge track, of 60 centimetres, from Lod to the Jaffa port, to speed up the transport of supplies and equipment from the port to the battlefront.

In March of 1949 Israel and Jordan signed an armistice agreement, and areas including parts of the Lod-Jerusalem railway were transferred to Israel's hands. On the 7th of August, 1949, the first train travelled to Jerusalem, carrying a token cargo:

sacks of flour and books. Passenger train service to and from Jerusalem was renewed in March 1950. The section between Jaffa and Tel-Aviv has not been in use since the War of Independence. In 1970 the South Tel-Aviv station was moved from the city centre to its present location near Mikve-lsrael.

In time, the railroad expanded and branched off: the Haifa-Afula-Bet Shean-Tsemach-Dara'a railroad was built as a coast connection of the famous Hijaz Railway (Damascus-Dara'a-Medina). The line was initiated in 1905, and in 1912 it was joined to Akko.

During the First World War, various military railroads were built. For instance, in addition to the Nitsana railway, the Turks built lines from Kfar Menachem to Dier Suneid (North of Gaza) and from Tulkarm to the Givat-Ada region. The British built a railway from Rafa to Beersheva. All these railroads were dismantled in the 1920's.

Noteworthy from the Mandate period is the construction of a seven-kilometre line from Rosh Ha'ayin to Petach-Tikva, with the cooperation of farmers from the settlement. This was the only line built for economical reasons before the founding of the State.

In 1942, the British army built the Oiryat-Motzkin - Beirut - Tripoli railway, which created railroad track continuity between Istanbul-Haifa-Cairo.

At present, the length of the railway lines operating in Israel is 526 kilometres, of which 255 kilometres were built after the founding of the State: along with tracks in stations, installations and customers' yards, the total length of the rail network is about 700 kilometres. The railroad system includes 55 diesel locomotives, about 1400 waggons - owned in part by customers, and 73 passenger cars, including buffets. In 1991 the railway carried approximately 2.9 million passengers, and transported a record amount of freight of 7.7 million tons. Recognition that efforts had to be invested in railway development led to the union between Israel Railways and the Ports Authority, and to the establishment of the "Ports and Railways Authority" (1988). Some of the development plans will be executed in the 100th year, and others in the years following. The centennial year will witness the purchase of the 10 modern articulated railcar-sets, and the completed construction of tracking the Ayalon river, creating an inter-city track artery throughout Tel-Aviv. In coming years, the development operation of suburban district lines to and from: Netanya, Petach-Tikva, Kfar Saba, Ben Gurion International Airport, Rishon LeZion and Holon, and a line from Haifa to Nahariya will be instigated. New lines will be built: between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, one to Eilat, a Tel-Aviv-Ashdod-Ashkelon direct line, and others.

There are 4 stamps in the series issued to commemorate the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway. Each stamp is divided into four parts, the following explanation of each stamp is given right to left:

NIS 0.85 stamp: Part of a drawing of the "Baldwin" engine (made in the United States, 1918); greasing the wheels of a steam engine; a diesel-electric locomotive of the type in service on the line today; a passenger train climbing the bends of the Soreq River on the way to Jerusalem. Above: a modern engine manufactured in USA (3000 hp). Below: a steam engine which was built in England in 1942 and taken out of service in 1958 (no. 70414).

NIS 1 stamp: a junction in Lod station; a mechanical signalling with semaphore arms in Lod station: an electric signalling board in Tel Aviv Central Station, which is meant to be joined to the Jerusalem line this year; a railroad layout map in Lod station. Above: A steam engine built in Scotland in 1935 (wheel classification 4-6-0). Below: one of the first five engines to operate on the line (2-6-0).

NIS 1.30 stamp: Part of the passenger timetable (1926); a train ticket for the Jaffa-Jerusalem line (before the founding of the State):a renovated passenger car; the interior of a passenger car. Above: a modern diesel locomotive (2000 hp). Below: A steam engine (0-6-0) and passenger cars that were built in England at the turn of the century. Some of the cars were in service until 1962.

NIS 1.60 stamp: Bar-Giora station; the railway station in Jaffa at the beginning of the century; a covered platform at Lod station; a frontal drawing of the station in Jerusalem. Above: one of the ten articulated railcar-sets which are due to arrive in Israel in the centennial year (1584 hp). Below: One of eleven railcar-sets built in Germany in the 1950's (1000 hp), which was taken out of service in the late '70s.

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100 years Jaffa - Jerusalem railway line