They promised it would take 28 minutes — and the first test of the high-speed train from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim indeed shows that that prediction is set to come to pass. The first Israel Railways high-speed train to travel the newly constructed train tracks plied its way from the coast to the capital on Sunday, in a series of tests that will last all week.
The purpose of the test is to check the integrity of the tracks, and especially a new bridge that passes south of Modi’in. If all continues to go well, the route will begin moving passengers in time for next Pesach.
According to the Transport Ministry, the line will include five kilometers of bridges, including the longest bridge in Israel, at a length of 1.2 kilometers. It is also the highest bridge, rising to some 90 meters off the ground. The successful traversing of this bridge by the 1,200-ton train is an excellent sign that the project is sound from an engineering point of view, the Ministry said in a statement, adding that each pass of a train over the bridge will enable it to “settle,” strengthening its pylons and making it more sturdy.
Besides the highest bridge, the railway will include the country’s longest tunnel — 11.6 kilometers. In addition, the railway’s Yerushalayim terminus, which will be about 80 meters below ground, is one of the deepest commuter railway stations in the world.
Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said that among the biggest beneficiaries will be residents of Yerushalayim. “The train will take 28 minutes to travel in either direction, and will guarantee further the status of Yerushalayim, and further bring it to the country’s business center, making it a more attractive place for families to live and start businesses. It will completely change the connection between Yerushalayim and the rest of Israel.”