Friday, March 25, 2005

The Train, Boss! The Train!

Wonderful news: after a seven-year break, Jerusalem is about to get train service again. This train is the slower of two lines we’ll be getting and will take approximately 73 minutes to reach Tel Aviv, going through Beit Shemesh and other places. (The speed is slower is because this particular line uses the old Ottoman rail route, which is so full of curves that the trains cannot travel along it safely at full speed. There were many jokes about just how slow the old service was, one of which was that a passenger could leave the train during the trip in order to pick wildflowers and then re-board the train with no problem. In 2008 there will be a faster train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, which will take approximately half an hour to arrive.)

Here are two sites for more information: and

This new service is a far cry from what there used to be (see Imshin’s post at Israelity for more details). Israel’s trains are clean, run on time and are just plain delightful.

(I must admit to a certain amount of bias. I happen to like trains. A lot. I’m especially fond of the New York subway system, which I rode quite a bit these past two weeks when I got to travel to the United States for the first time since I moved to Israel thirteen years ago. Also, when a good friend asked me what I’d like to do for a fairly significant birthday I have coming up next month, my answer was: a trip to the Israel Train Museum in Haifa. I kid you not.)

Seeing that it’s almost Shabbat, I’ll have to post about my trip to the States another time. For now, I think I’ll start making plans to ride the Jerusalem train on Saturday night, April 9, when it goes into service for the first time. Yesh!

What? I can hear readers asking. Ride the train to Tel Aviv and back just for fun? And when the bus takes so much less time?

Well, um, yes. Did I happen to mention I like trains?

(Cross-posted on Israelity)

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