Israel Railways successfully carried out its first test run on the extended electrified railway line between Tel Aviv’s Hahagana and Savidor Central stations on Sunday. The extension provides a more convenient journey for commuters to and from Jerusalem.Infrastructure work to electrify the line was scheduled to conclude in June but has been accelerated in recent weeks after train travel was halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Direct trains between Tel Aviv’s Hahagana Station and Jerusalem’s Yitzhak Navon Station commenced in late December, more than a decade later than first planned.
Following completion of the electrification work connecting the route to Tel Aviv Hashalom and Savidor Central, work on the line is scheduled to continue to Tel Aviv University and Herzliya. No estimated date for completion of the full line has been announced.
A series of test runs will be carried out in the coming weeks, Israel Railways said in a statement. It intends to open the extended line once restrictions on public transportation are lifted.
“Completion of the electrified line and the operation of the high-speed route between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Savidor is significant news for the public, who will enjoy the extension of the service to the central Hashalom and Savidor stations, which benefit from great connectivity throughout the Gush Dan region,” Israel Railways CEO Michael Maixner said.
“Unfortunately, this achievement comes during the tough days of the epidemic and lockdown,” he said. “But we are working hard toward better days and providing the public with a promising and high-quality train service.”
The 57-km.-long electrified railway link was first approved in June 2001 by prime minister Ariel Sharon and was originally scheduled to open in 2008.
The project, which requires the construction of nine bridges and five tunnels, is estimated to cost a total of NIS 7 billion, more than double its original NIS 2.8b. estimate.