Direct Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Savidor train services to begin May 24
12 May 2020 - The jerusalem post
Train services are expected to gradually recommence on some lines on May 17 following the lifting of some coronavirus restrictions, with all stations and routes due to open on June 1.
The electrified railway line between Jerusalem's Yitzhak Navon Station and Tel Aviv's Savidor Central will welcome its first customers on May 24, Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich said Monday as he inaugurated the extended railway connecting Israel's two largest cities.
After infrastructure work on the line accelerated in recent months after all services were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, Smotrich also promised that the line would be further extended to Herzliya by September.
Direct trains between Tel Aviv's Hahagana Station and Jerusalem's Yitzhak Navon Station commenced in late December, including a stop at Ben-Gurion Airport, more than a decade later than first planned.
"It is not fun to see an empty train station, but it is temporary," said Smotrich prior to inaugurating the extended route together with Israel Railways CEO Michael Maixner. "The station will fill up with happier passengers, with a more comfortable, quieter and faster train, thanks to the chief executive and all Israel Railways employees."
Some 24 "new and eco-friendly" train carriages will be added to the network by the second half of 2021, Smotrich added, promising greater reliability, capacity and fewer mechanical malfunctions.
The 56-km.-long (34.8 miles) electrified railway link between Jerusalem and Herzliya was first approved in June 2001 by then prime minister Ariel Sharon and was originally scheduled to open in 2008. The project, which required the construction of eight bridges and five tunnels, is estimated to cost a total of NIS 7 billion, more than double its original NIS 2.8b. estimate.
Commencing May 24, two trains per hour will run in each direction between Jerusalem and Savidor Central, including stops at Ben-Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv Hahagana and Tel Aviv Hashalom. Services will run from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays, and on Saturday evenings. Total travel time will stand at 42 minutes.
"This is an important achievement for Israel Railways, representing a stimulus both in terms of service and as a glance toward the future railway development program, which includes replacing the existing diesel-powered railway fleet with modern, green, electric-powered trains," said Maixner.
Alongside the launch of the extended Jerusalem-Tel Aviv railway, electrification work has also begun on additional lines, including the railway stretching from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon, via Holon and Rishon Lezion.
While Israel Railways has intended for train services to gradually recommence on some lines from May 17, the decision is still pending Health Ministry approval.