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Israel launches high-speed train from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport

Sept. 26, 2018 2:07 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 28, 2018 3:16 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israel opened a high-speed rail line on Tuesday between Jerusalem and Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, as part of a $1.8 billion long-awaited project, began with the first journey setting off at 7 a.m.

After 17 years the project to construct the rail line was launched, the first passengers traveled with the new electric, high-speed train from new Yitzhak Navon Station (outside the Central Bus Station) in Jerusalem to airport in Tel Aviv.

The high-speed train will allow up to 400 passengers per trip and will reduce travel time between the two destinations to only 21 minutes instead of travel time by road, which would take at least 40 minutes.

The train also runs every half hour and the journey is currently free in both directions.

The project was initially launched in 2001, at an estimated cost of around 3.5 billion shekels ($978 million), and works began in 2005, only to be halted by environmentalist opposition until 2009, however, then tunneling recommenced in 2012.

The final cost amounts to about 6.5 billion shekels ($1.8 billion).

Last week, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Israeli Transportation Minister, Israel Katz, took the first trip on the train to inaugurate the rail line.

Netanyahu called the opening of the rail line a “historic moment" heralding a "new era for Jerusalem."
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