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The Jerusalem Light Rail project consists of one, and at a later stage, multiple light rail and BRT lines to provide rapid transit in Jerusalemmarker.


Light rail was promoted in the 1990’s as a means of providing faster and less polluting public transit through the heart of the city, as well as reversing the decline of certain central areas. CityPass, a specially formed consortium, won a 30-year concession to build and operate Line 1 (the "Red Line"). CityPass consists of financiers Polar Investments (27.5%) and Harel (20%), constructors Ashtrom (27.5%) and engineers Alstom (20%), plus service operators Connex – later Veolia Transport (5%).

Construction of Line 1 began in April 2006, and is scheduled for completion in 2011. Line 1 is planned to have 23 stations on a new 1,435 mm gauge twin-track 13.8 km alignment. It is planned to run from Pisgat Ze'evmarker in the northeast, south along Road 1 (intercity) to Jaffa Roadmarker (Rehov Yaffo). From there, it is planned to run along Jaffa Road westward to the Jerusalem Central Bus Stationmarker, and continue to the southwest, crossing the Chords Bridgemarker along Herzl Boulevard to the Beit HaKerem neighborhood. The first test run for this route is planned for November 2009.

The Red Line under construction on Herzl Blvd.

Additional development along the route

As part of the light rail project, CityPass is developing a number of sites along the route, including Davidka Square.

In late 2009, the planting of trees began along the line. The species selected were deemed suitable to the Jerusalem climate, hardy enough to withstand the capital's cold winters while providing shade in summer. In 2010, 3,500 trees will be planted along 14 km of track, out of 3,800 originally planned. The genera include platanus, ash and types of oak.

CityPass is also expected to install blind-friendly traffic lights along the entire route of the light rail, at the behest of Jerusalem's municipality.

Planned Extension of the First Line

Initial extensions to the first line were planned to the neighborhoods of Neve Ya'akovmarker and Ein Keremmarker (nearby Hadassah Hospitalmarker), and former mayor Uri Lupoliansky stated that they would be completed at the same time as the rest of the line. However, in March 2009, CityPass announced that it would not be interested in working on the extensions.

Intercity Coach and Heavy Rail Interchange

In the coming years, the Jerusalem Central Bus Stationmarker will became a major passenger transportation hub. In addition the new light rail station a new underground heavy rail station will be built for the new High-speed line to Jerusalem from Tel Avivmarker and Ben Gurion Airport Railway Stationmarker, passengers will also be able to board the existing Intercity Coach services at the station.

Park and ride

A Park and ride facility was build near Mount Herzlmarker, consisting of a Multi-storey car park and the first line termini on its roof, which is actually at street level of the Herzl boulevard.

The Santiago Calatrava Bridge (The chords bridge)

A cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge was built for the light rail close to the most frequently used entrance to Jerusalemmarker, in the neighbourhood of Kiryat Moshemarker. The bridge will be used to carry the trams in a grade separated manner over the busy road intersection. Incorporated in the bridge is a glass-sided pedestrian crossing enabling pedestrians to quickly cross from the Kiryat Moshe area to the Central Bus Stationmarker grounds. The bridge was Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is known as the Chords Bridge.

Long-term Master Plan

The Jerusalem municipality's long-terms public transportation Master plan is to eventually have 8 BRT and Light Rail lines across the city.

North-South BRT Line

The first Bus rapid transit (BRT) line has already been built to act as a feeder line to the Light Raliway.The BRT line is a dedicated bus line running along Hebron Road in South Jerusalem, northwards to Keren HaYesod Street, then King George V Street; where it crosses the path of the light rail. Buses on this route are operated exclusively by the Egged Transportation Cooperative. .

Rolling stock

Initial rolling stock are to be 46 Citadis 302 100% low-floor five-module units manufactured at Alstom's Aytrémarker factory. The first car was delivered via the Port of Ashdodmarker in September 2007. All axles are driven to handle up to 9% inclines. The maintenance and storage depot for the whole fleet is to be located on a site near French Hillmarker in the north of Jerusalem. The route and vehicles are to be monitored from the control center, and trams are to be driven under line of sight principles, with built-in priority at road intersections. The fare collection and ticketing system is to be supplied by Affiliated Computer Services.

Alstom train for use in the light rail


The line will operate Sunday to Friday, from 5:30am to 11:30pm; but not during the Jewish Sabbath. It is expect to carry up to 23,000 passengers an hour during peak morning rush hours. The French-based company Veolia Transport, which held 5% of CityPass's shares, was originally meant to operate the light rail. However, due to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups, Veolia sold its share in the project in September 2009 to the Dan Bus Company for $15–20 million.

The light rail will operate at a maximum speed of . New regulations were also passed in the government in regards to vehicle behavior in vis-a-vis the light rail.


The project has aroused criticism because the route passes through territories captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, and serves Israeli settlements east of the green linemarker such as French Hillmarker and Pisgat Ze'evmarker. In consequence, a Dutch bank divested from Veolia Environnement, one of the French companies hired to build and operate the rail system. Both Veolia and Alstom are facing possible legal action in the French courts.

The project has also been criticized for increasing air pollution in Jerusalem. Nir Barkat, mayor of Jerusalem, was critical of the traffic jams caused by construction and told Yair Naveh, CEO of CityPass, that "The process isn't being managed, you can't stop a city. This is intolerable". In March, he said he proposed to cancel the project after the first two lines are completed, and told the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to replace the rest of the planned rail network with buses.

The financial management of the project has also been criticized, and a report published in May 2008 by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss pointed to a 128% deviation in funds, from an estimated NIS 500 million to NIS 1.14 billion. It was also noted that the government had spent NIS 1.2 billion on the project up to 2007, which pointed to a further deviation.

Archeological findings

While tracks for the light rail were being built in Shuafatmarker, the remains of an ancient Roman-Jewish settlement were discovered. The settlement was described as a "sophisticated community impeccably planned by the Roman authorities, with orderly rows of houses and two fine public bathhouses to the north."

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