Tel Aviv South Railway Station is a former railway station in Tel Aviv, Israel, that was situated in two different locations. It opened in its first location in 1920, then relocated in 1970 and finally closed to passengers in 1993.
The station was built at its first location (32.0636°N 34.7770°E / 32.0636; 34.7770 (Tel Aviv South Railway Station (original location))) in 1920, as the Tel Aviv Custom House Station. At a distance of approximately 2.5 km from the Jaffa Railway Station; near the Yehuda Halevi Street and along the route that is today called the Railway Street (HaRakevet Street) in Hebrew.
It was built once the British Mandate Authorities were able to rebuild the whole Jaffa–Jerusalem railway, which was damaged during World War I, in a Standard gauge, rather than the original 1.05 meter gauge. The construction of the station and its adjacent Custom House was one of the first civil engineering works the British carried out, once their governing mandate was established by the League of nations. The station and Customs House were built to replace the existing Jaffa Customs House, which was old, congested and could not cope with the growing level of cargo traffic at that time.
In 1935, an office building Beit Hadar (in Hebrew, The Citrus House), the first steel frame structure in Tel Aviv, was built next to the station by architect Carl Rubin. From that point the station was also known as Beit Hadar Station.
During the 1948-49 Israel War of Independence the service on the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway was stopped, and only resumed on August 7, 1949; after the 1949 Armistice Agreements was signed with Jordan.
On September 20, 1949, once the Tel Aviv North Railway Station was opened (which was later renamed Bnei Brak Railway Station), the station was renamed Tel Aviv South Railway Station. At this time it also became a terminus, as the section of track to Jaffa Railway Station was lifted and the station closed.
By the 1960s, the movement of trains on the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway was disturbing the growing vehicle traffic along the major Tel Aviv artery of Begin Road (at the time was still called Petah Tikva Road), therefore it was decided to relocate the station 2 km further out of town. The new station was opened on 26 November 1970. The tracks between the New Tel Aviv South Station and the original Customs House Station were lifted; however the Station building remained in place, in the central reservation of HaRakevet Street; the station name can still be clearly seen on the building, although the structure itself is now abandoned and neglected.
Although the new station was quite spacious, with a large indoor passenger concourse, 4 platforms and additional sidings; it had only 16 rail services per day when it opened (8 in each direction). The station was poorly used due to its remote location far away from the city centre (unlike its previous location which was much more centrally located). This contributed to a significant drop in passenger traffic and in 1979 the passenger rail service to Be’er Sheva was halted and the service to Jerusalem reduced to one train a day in each direction. However, in 1990, new suburban service to Rehovot Railway Station was introduced.
In 1993, as part of the Ayalon Highway project the railway lines in the Tel Aviv area were re-aligned. New tracks were laid within the highway's central reservation, finally linking the coastal line from Haifa to Northern Tel Aviv with the railway line from Southern Tel Aviv to Lod and from there to Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva and Ashdod (from 2005 also to Ashkelon and Ben Gurion Airport) to the south; thus creating a continuous rail corridor from the north of Israel to the south through Tel Aviv for the first time. Previously, all rail traffic from the North of the country to and from the South had to bypass the entire Tel Aviv metropolitan area from the East. Since the new Ayalon railway bypassed the station, all passenger service to the station was discontinued and moved to the Tel Aviv Central Railway Station, though Tel Aviv South Station remained connected to the rail network via a short spur to the Ayalon railway. Later, additional stations were built along the Ayalon Highway, including the nearby HaHagana and Holon Junction railway stations.
Today the station is used as a training site for Israel Railways and occasionally as a stabling point.
Part of the route of the railway between the original Custom House Station, and Jaffa Railway Station will soon be revived by the planned Tel Aviv Light Rail, which will pass on the same route.
Located east of the historical 1970 station location is the active Tel Aviv South rail yard and stabling point which is situated in the central reservation within the two carriageways of Highway 1, south of Tel Aviv HaHagana Station and the Kibbutz Galuyot Interchange where Highway 1 merges into the Ayalon Highway.