A new train line opened on Thursday connecting Modiin to Jerusalem with a journey time of just 22 minutes.
The line will run from Modiin-Maccabim-Reut every weekday including Fridays and on Saturday evenings, starting with one service an hour, with plans to increase to two services per hour in each direction.
The project connects Modiin to the high-speed line to Jerusalem and has involved the construction of 5.2 kilometers (3.2 miles) of electrified track, three bridges and a 650-meter-long tunnel. Modiin station has been expanded and accessibility arrangments improved to encourage commuters to make use of the new connection.
In addition, starting April 1, the electric line between Jerusalem and Herzliya will begin to operate on Fridays, with one train an hour in each direction. Services will be expanded and extended on the line between Modiin and Tel Aviv, including running trains on Saturday evenings.
Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli said that her office was committed to speeding up projects for further electrification of tracks and enhancements to public transport services.
The expansion of services is designed to encourage greater use of public transport in place of private vehicles, according to the announcement.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon described Thursday’s inauguration as part of a “real social and environmental revolution” that is working to connect intercity trains with city-wide light rail services and higher frequency bus routes.
Meanwhile, delays plaguing the construction of Tel Aviv’s highly anticipated light rail will push its opening into the middle of next year at the earliest, according to NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System, the government company developing Tel Aviv’s mass transportation network.
The delay comes after officials last year pushed the opening time from August 2022 to November 2022.
The logjam is being caused by both delays in completing some stations and problems with the signaling system. The system controls the movement and timing of trains throughout the network, consisting of 34 kilometers (21 miles) of track and 34 stations.
The Red Line, which will run from Petah Tikva to southern Bat Yam via Tel Aviv, is the first of three planned light rail lines, which will include underground sections, along with the proposed addition of three subway lines.
The system is expected to significantly ease traffic congestion in Israel’s financial and cultural heart, which has few public transportation options beyond buses, shared taxi vans, and an intercity commuter rail.
When completed, the light rail and subway network will cover the entire Tel Aviv metro area with 240 kilometers (149 miles) of track and hundreds of stations, linking Ra’anana and Kfar Saba north of the city, to Rishon Lezion and Rehovot to its south, as well as Lod, Ramle, Ben Gurion Airport and everywhere in between.
The six planned lines are slated to be completed sometime in the next decade at a cost of NIS 18 billion and counting. It is Israel’s largest-ever infrastructure project.