Video: The train is ready to leave the station

When will Israel ever get a subway? The answer, which may come as a surprise to some, is that it already has one.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
May 20, 2012 14:59
Carmelit

carmelit370. (photo credit: Hadas Parush)

 
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When will Israel ever get a subway? The answer, which may come as a surprise to some, is that it already has one. The Carmelit, a two-kilometer long funicular train that runs underneath the streets of Haifa, the country's third largest city, was opened back in the 1950s.



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The reason relatively few have heard of it - even in Haifa itself - is because it does not really go anywhere. The city's commercial, residential and industrial centers have shifted in such a way that the route of the train inaugurated by Israel's first prime minister David Ben Gurion is of virtually no use to commuters. But Haifa's Mayor Yona Yahav has not given up. He recently extended its hours until midnight, aims to run it on Shabbat and further integrate it with the city's other public transportation systems.

Will ridership on the Carmelit, the line that time forgot, ever pick up? Or will Israel's only subway continue to be one of the country's best kept secrets?

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