Jerusalem Light Rail Has First Accident, Before Commercial Service Even Starts

The first accident between Jerusalem's new light rail and a car took place yesterday morning at the capital's French Hill junction when a driver apparently ran a red light and collided with the train.

The car and the train suffered slight damage. There were no injuries.

rail - Emil Salman - February 9 2011
Emil Salman

The Jerusalem light rail system has been undergoing testing over the past few months to prepare it for the start of commercial service, which is expected to begin in August.

Decision-makers in the municipality and the Transportation Ministry are worried about the possibility of collisions between the train and cars or pedestrians.

The latter is a particular concern, as the train moves very quietly and people unaccustomed to watching for it might not notice its approach.

Of particular concern are the segments of the line that run through the center of town and near the Mahane Yehuda open-air fruit and vegetable market where the train will run along an area that is a pedestrian mall.

The municipality, the Transportation Ministry and the train franchisee, Citypass, are planning a public campaign to raise awareness of the train.

Preparing the public

Classes in schools are also being devoted to preparing the Jerusalem public for the advent of its newest form of transportation.

As for yesterday morning's collision, Citypass said in a statement: "An investigation into the incident revealed that the driver had crossed the intersection at a red light.

The driver of the light rail acted as he has been trained according to procedure. The incident ended and traffic resumed."