Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
The Tel Aviv Light Rail’s Red Line will begin service on August 18, 2023.

The Light Rail’s Red Line serving Metropolitan Tel Aviv is finally going to start regular service after decades of planning and work at the cost of close to NIS 19 billion ($5.16 billion). The line runs 24 kilometers, from Petah Tikvah to Jaffa, with 34 stations, 24 above and 10 below ground. It connects five municipalities: Petah Tikva, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Bat Yam.

The Tel Aviv Light Rail’s Red Line will begin service on August 18, 2023. / Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Work continues these days on the Purple Line, connecting Tel Aviv with Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, and Yahud and Or Yehuda; and the Green Line, from Holon to Ramat Hasharon and Herzliya via Tel Aviv.

Construction of the Tel Aviv Light Rail’s Red Line, Abba Hillel station, Ramat Gan, November 7, 2019. / Moshe Shai/FLASH90

A light railway was built by the French firm Decauville in Jaffa and Tel Aviv during World War I. It connected the Jaffa port with the Yarkon River. The line was in use for about a decade after the war and was dismantled.

The interior of the Tel Aviv Light Rail’s Red Line, November 22, 2021. / Erel Herzog

In the mid-1960s, a subway system was first planned in Tel Aviv, and the first subway station was constructed under the Shalom Meir Tower, then the tallest building in all of Israel. After they dug up the subway station, the project was interrupted and no rails were laid in any direction.

The Tel Aviv Light Rail’s Red Line will begin service on August 18, 2023. / Miriam Alster/FLASH90

In 2000, the subway plan was revised to a light rail, and more plausible plans for a mass transit system in Tel Aviv were unveiled. After the Red Line was approved, excavation began in late 2009, with the construction of the underground stations starting in August 2015. Yada, yada, yada, in February 2017, most of the stations along the Red Line were under construction.

The street entrance to the Tel Aviv Light Rail’s Red Line, May 17, 2023. / Miriam Alster/FLASH90

One innovative feature in the Red Line stations, because Tel Aviv happens to be surrounded by a few million Arabs, some of whom would love to blow up the first Jewish subway, is an “explosion chamber,” a capsule designed to explode suspicious objects without the need to shut down the station. Works for me.

The new Allenby underground station of the Light Rail’s Red Line in Tel Aviv, June 23, 2022. / Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90

NTA, the Metropolitan Mass Service (shouldn’t it be Netropolitan? No, it’s a Hebrew acronym, but you already knew that) is a government-owned company in charge of planning and building the Tel Aviv light rail system. has been accused Knesset committees of exceeding its budget by 100% due to management waste that allegedly included lots of partying.


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