With the infrastructure for the high-speed rail from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv nearly completed, the testing phase of the project is underway.
Although it wasn’t quite zooming by at its maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour, a locomotive successfully crossed the Mevaseret Zion bridge with a diesel engine in tow for the first time last Thursday. Originally intended to be a test of the complete passenger train at full speed, time constraints forced the assessment team to keep things simple. A full trial is likely to take place this Tuesday.
The test run is over 17 years in the making and is a much-needed win for Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who was criticized by a Knesset committee in May for his failure to demonstrate meaningful progress on the overdue project.
The line was expected to begin running before Passover in March of this year but was delayed at the behest of safety experts just weeks before. The new completion date in late September has also been questioned by internal sources familiar with the matter, but no official statements have been made by the Ministry of Transportation.
Once completed, the NIS 7 billion high-speed railway will transport passengers over 56 kilometers from the new Yitzhak Navon Railway Station at the city entrance in Jerusalem to the HaHagana Railway Station in Tel Aviv in just under 30 minutes.
(Header Image Courtesy of Alexey Bogoslavsky)