January 15, 2009. This is the date planned for the opening of a Jerusalem tram system, the first of its kind in Israel. The Jerusalem tram will precede by at least two years a similar mode of transportation in the Tel Aviv and Gush Dan area.
If all goes according to plan, the train will be the most sophisticated of its kind in the world, as well as the most passenger-friendly, with no need even to climb a step to get to the cars.
The ride will cost only NIS 5, less than an intercity bus ride, and will take off every four minutes. The track, 13.8 km in length, will begin in Pisgat Ze'ev in northeast Jerusalem and end in Herzl Mount, in the southwest side of the capital. It is expected to transport 30 million passengers a year.
In recent days, construction of the first of the train's cars has begun in the French factory, Alstom. Each tram will have 4 cars, with room for 46 passengers. The trains will be gray, with every facet exhibiting the picture of a lion: the official symbol of Jerusalem.
Alstom recently opened offices in Tel Aviv, under the leadership of Alain Tobiana, Jewish and fluent in Hebrew, one of the company's top executives.
The Jerusalem tram will start running two and a half years after originally intended, due to financial difficulties.
Reproduced with permission: Ynet