Choo-choo chosen

In London, Jerusalem’s light rail won the annual award for the Best Environmental and Sustainability Initiative.

Light Rail awards (photo credit: Courtesy)
Light Rail awards
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Jerusalem’s light rail won the annual award for the Best Environmental and Sustainability Initiative at the ninth annual Light Rail Awards held in London on October 7. The capital’s CityPass and the Transportation Ministry beat the Derby, UK-based Garrandale Group for the honor, which was sponsored by Canada’s Bombardier Transportation.
The sold-out event, considered the Oscars of urban tram and light rapid transit systems, attracted 300 industry professionals from 10 countries. The panel of expert judges evaluated more than 80 entries, deliberating over a range of projects covering customer experience, safety and technical initiatives, engineering and operational excellence, and system design.
Commenting on this year’s entries, the judges said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome such a diverse range of outstanding entries this year. The levels of innovation, safety and customer service initiatives we have seen, along with application of groundbreaking technologies, show that as an industry we are more than ready to meet the challenges of growing urbanization.”
Simon Johnston, editor of Tramways & Urban Transit, a key supporter of the event, said, “The competition this year was tougher than ever, and it is a significant achievement just to have made the shortlist today.
From existing practices to exciting visions for the industry’s future, I would just like to congratulate all those who took part in this year’s event and those who are driving forward the future of tramways and light rails worldwide.”
Work began on Jerusalem’s light rail in 2002. After many engineering difficulties, including the construction of the iconic Bridge of Strings at the city’s western entrance, the first 13.9-km. section of the Red Line began service in August 2011. Notwithstanding that Arab rioters have repeatedly attacked light rail carriages, tracks and stations, the highly popular system is now being expanded to Neveh Ya’acov in the north and Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem in the southwest.
When completed in 2016, these will extend the Red Line’s length to 22.5 km.
A second line is under development that will link the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus, the Israel Museum and the Knesset with the medical center and university on Mount Scopus.