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Bet Shean

Bet Shean

Bet Shean, town (1994 pop. 14,900), NE Israel, in the Jordan River valley, c.300 ft (90 m) below sea level. Situated in a fertile farming region, it is a center for agricultural experiments. Textiles are manufactured. Archaeological excavations have traced settlements on the site back to the Bronze Age: Bet Shean was the site of an Egyptian administrative center during the XVIII and XIX dynasties (see Egypt), a Scythian city from c.625 to 300 B.C., and the biblical city Beth-shan. In 64 B.C. it was taken by the Romans, rebuilt, and made the center of the Decapolis. The modern Bet Shean was established in 1949 by Israeli settlers. Archaeological finds include temples of the Canaanite Bronze Age, a Hellenistic-Roman temple, and a Byzantine monastery. The town is also known as Beisan.


total: 677 km
narrow gauge (1.050 m): 677 km

Two connected but non-contiguously operated sections of the Hedjaz Railway exist:

See Hejaz railway.

Railway links with adjacent countries

Since all of Jordan's neighbours use primarily standard gauge, any linkup would most likely see the conversion of Jordan's remaining narrow gauge lines.




  • Various rail proposals.
  • The Israeli business newspaper Globes reported that in a meeting between the Israeli minister of transport, Shaul Mofaz and the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv in November, the transport minister announced that European nations are interested in financing the construction of a Haifa-Irbid-Amman railway.


* - Jordanian Transport Minister Saoud Nseirat responds to comments made on Monday, December 12, by Israeli Transport Minister Maer Shitrit. Shitrit had announced his intentions to propose a new standard gauge railway to connect Haifa, Israel, to Irbid, Jordan, passing through King Hussein Bridge and Jenin, a project that could cost as much as $300 million (for the Jordanian portion of the line). Nseirat responded to Shitrit's comments with a denial, stating that there have not been any discussions between the two nations on such a project and no plans for such a connection have been proposed by anyone in the Jordanian government. Shitrit plans to make his formal proposal at a conference for Mediterranean transport ministers in Marrakesh on December 20.

  • - The Public Transport Regulatory Commission has entered into an agreement with a private sector consortium, following a competitive bidding process, to develop a light rail system between the Jordanian capital Amman and nearby industrial city of Zarqa. This light rail project, to be operational by 2011, will be the first urban rail public-private partnership (PPP) in the Middle East. The system will be operated using standard (1,435 mm) gauge electrically propelled light rail vehicles on a double track. The total length of the LRS system will be approximately 25 kilometres. The majority of the LRS route, between Al-Mahatta (in Amman) and New Zarqa will be constructed within the existing Hedjaz Railway right-of-way (22.2 kilometres). The Public Transport Regulatory Commission estimates that the new system will carry about 45,000 passengers a day in its first year. Canada's CPCS was the lead advisor to the PTRC in this PPP transaction.

  • CPCS is also advising the Government of Jordan in the privatization of the Aqaba Railroad Corporation, running from Maan to Aqaba. This railway is used to transport phosphate from mines located in Maan. The commission plans to modernize the old narrow gauge railways|narrow gauge section of the railway and replace it with new track.


(2000 est.)
total: 8,000 km
paved: 8,000 km
unpaved: 0 km


crude oil 209 km; note - may not be in use or be living

Ports and harbors

Al 'Aqabah (Gulf of Aqaba)

Merchant marine

total: 7 ships (with a volume of or over) totaling /
ships by type (1999): bulk carrier 2, cargo ship 2, container ship 1, livestock carrier 1, roll-on/roll-off ship 1


(1999 est.): 20

Airports - with paved runways

total (1999): 16
over 10,000 ft (3,048 m): 9
8000 ft to 9,999 ft (2,438 to 3,047 m): 4
under 3,000 ft (914 m): 3

Airports - with unpaved runways

total (1999): 4
5,000 to 7,999 ft (1,524 to 2,438 m): 1
3,000 to 4,999 ft (914 to 1,523 m): 1
under 3000 ft (914 m): 2

Heliports (1999)


See also


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