A new rail link between Haifa and Beit Shean has been scheduled to inaugurate regular service on October 16, just before Sukkos, Globes reports.
The new 40-mile route will initially have five stations — Haifa, Kfar Yehoshua, Migdal Ha’Emek, Afula and Beit Shean. Stations at Haifa South and Nesher are to be added at a later date.
The Haifa-Beit Shean trip will take 50 minutes, though potentially even less, as the trains have maximum speeds of about 120 miles per hour.
The new line cost approximately 4 billion shekels to build, including three tunnels totaling three-fifths of a mile and 26 bridges spanning more than 4 miles.
It comes as part of a larger government effort to develop the northern peripheral regions via a faster link to Haifa, making commuting more feasible. As well, the route it takes through the beautiful Lower Galil countryside is expected to facilitate tourism.
The railway revives the line first built by the Ottoman Turks in the late 19th century between Haifa and Damascus, which was closed by the British in 1946.