A new electric train line between Ashkelon and Ashdod has reached a new milestone, with test runs of the line beginning this past week, according to the Transportation Ministry.
"This is a significant milestone towards the completion of the deployment of the electric infrastructure in another significant section, after the electric infrastructure on the high-speed line to Jerusalem and the Ayalon tracks to Herzliya was completed," said Transportation Minister Miri Regev.
The Ashkelon-Herzliya line is the second electric train line to operate in Israel. During the test runs, various operational tests were carried out in preparation for the opening of the line which will operate between Ashkelon, Ashdod, Rishon LeZion, Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Petah Tikva, Rosh HaAyin, Kfar Saba, Hod Hasharon, Ra'anana and Herzliya. The line is expected to open in the third quarter of 2021.
The new line will allow for new DDEMU electric carriages from the Siemens company, for which an advanced maintenance complex is being built in Ashkelon.
The new carriages run quietly and without emissions and will replace the old diesel locomotives.
The ministry has accelerated electrification work on the country's railways in the past year in order to improve public transport service and allow faster, safer and quieter travel.
"Electric trains save time and money, have fewer problems and malfunctions, and damage to the environment is very negligible. In this way, we are able to provide the traveling public with a more reliable and better service," added Regev. "I see the Transportation Ministry as a social ministry, which allows everyone the complete freedom to choose their place of residence, studies and work, with maximum transportation accessibility between them. Soon, residents of the south will also be able to board an advanced electric train and get quickly and conveniently to anywhere in the center of the country, while protecting the environment and maintaining punctuality."