According to figures released last week by Israel Railways the company's trains served 26,808,436 passengers last year, a 17% increase over 2004.
The railways'heaviest traffic was on the Tel Aviv-Haifa line - 5.5 million passengers, 9% more than in 2004.
The railways' most impressive increase came on the Ashkelon-Tel Aviv line, on which four million passengers traveled last year – 18% more than in 2004.
Train service to and from Ben-Gurion International Airport served 1.1 million passengers last year.
Israel Railways general manager Ofer Linchevski said Israel Railways would meet high demand in 2006 by adding carriages and laying new tracks. Linchevski added that "The increase in demand in 2005 is proof of the fact that the public sees the train as a central, reliable and sophisticated transportation mode".
In a written statement, Moshe Leon Israel Railways chairman said Israel Railways attributed great importance to improving service. He noted that, in addition to vast improvement in safety, Israel Railways carry out massive financial investment in developing a national rail network. He noted that Israel Railways goal was to carry 60 million passengers a year at the end of the five-year plan in 2010.