Five New Lines Planned in J’lem Light Rail Expansion

With new stops, rail is expected to have 250,000 travelers a day, up from the current 140,000.

The Jerusalem light rail system will be expanded to include another five lines over the next 20 years, under a plan being drafted by city hall and the Transportation Ministry.

The capital’s light rail currently includes one line, operated by tender holder CityPass. The company is still supposed to extend that line to include more stops.

The first part of the long-term plan for the light rail, to finish by 2020, calls for expanding the existing red line. Initially the line would be expanded from Pisgat Ze’ev up to Neveh Yaakov in the north, and from Mount Herzl to Tahun Junction in the south by 2016, and later from Tahun to Ora Junction. It also calls for beginning a line from Herzl Boulevard to the Givat Ram campus via the government compound (the “campus line”). Ultimately, the red line is to end at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, by 2019.

The campus line is to be completed by 2020, passing through Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus via Hadassah Mount Scopus and linking up to the red line.

These expansions to the red line will take it from the existing 9 kilometers up to 23 kilometers, at an expected cost of NIS 2.5 billion. All the extensions to the red line have statutory approval with the exception of the Mount Scopus stops. With the new stops, the light rail is expected to have 250,000 travelers a day, up from the current 140,000.

Work on additional lines would begin in the decades that follow. The green line would go from the Mount Scopus campus via French Hill, Eshkol Boulevard, the central bus station and Givat Ram, ending in Gilo. Statutory planning for this line is expected to begin at the end of 2013.

The blue line will go from Ramot to Gilo, with a fork out to Malha.

These two lines are supposed to be completed by 2025, at an investment of NIS 12 billion.

The final part of the plan is still being reviewed, and calls for adding another three lines – a brown line in East Jerusalem, a purple line from Ein Karem to Talpiot via Malha, and another line from the Kotel to Givat Ram via the city center. These lines would cost an estimated NIS 8.5 billion to build.

Emil Salman