Members of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Sunday toured the route of the high-speed railway to Jerusalem, a project of the Israel Railways Company.
During the tour, committee members passed through the tunnels that will serve the high-speed railway and learned about the use of the Tunnel Boring Machine. The expected travel time from Tel Aviv to central Jerusalem on the new high-speed rail will be approximately 28 minutes. The same trip by car during rush hour—on a sunny day—can last as much as two hours.
Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) said “the development of the train brings the periphery closer to the center, makes places of work, trade and entertainment more accessible to people from the weaker segments of the population who do not own cars, and saves vast amounts of money and time for the general population and the economy.”
Amsalem noted the importance of the government’s decision to allocate the necessary resources to the project, and stressed that the train tickets would have to be affordable to all.
The high-speed railway to Jerusalem has been under construction in stages since 2001, with service set to commence in March 2018. The railway will span about 35 miles of electrified double track, costing approximately $2 billion, due to the extensive bridging and tunneling required along the mountainous route. The designed speed is 100 mph. Travel time from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem will be 20 minutes.
As of October 2014, significant portions of the project have been completed, including most of the bridges and all the tunnels’ basic structure and concrete lining.
The next high-speed railway project is expected to connect central Israel with the southern city of Eilat on the Red Sea coast, as well as serve commercial freight between the Mediterranean and Red Sea harbors. The railway will spur southward from the existing rail line at Be’er Sheva, and continue through Dimona to the Arava, Ramon Airport and Eilat, at a speed of 220 mph. Its length will be roughly 160 miles of electrified double-track rail. The Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva segment will add another 60 miles.