Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz inaugurated train services from Sderot station in the Negev to Tel Aviv via Ashkelon, Ashdod, Yavne, Rishon Letzion, Bat Yam and Holon.
Sderot residents will be able to travel free of charge for the first 90 days of service.
At the dedication ceremony on Monday, Netanyahu pledged to link the entire country with railways from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat. He pronounced Sderot a “suburb of Tel Aviv.”
Sderot becomes the southernmost point on the route, but not the last. Israel Railways is currently building southward, and new stations are slated to open in Netivot and Ofakim in 2014. The line will eventually link up with Be’er Sheva.
The new station in Sderot is reinforced to protect travelers from potential rocket fire from the nearby Gaza Strip.