Passengers Brace for Train Troubles in Wake of Closures

Kobi Arni, a Kiryat Motzkin resident who was on his way to Tel Aviv, said the doors would not open at the station in lower Haifa. "We waited for about 20 minutes inside the train, and people were waiting outside to board," he said. "They finally announced over the PA system that there was a problem with the doors. Finally the doors opened and they told us to move to the next track. We all moved, and then they told us the doors were fixed and we could go back. Everybody hurried back to get seats. Then they said: 'We're sorry, the repair was not made, you have to take another train." Another train was too full to stop and after a two-hour wait, Arni finally got on a 9 A.M. train.

"Saturday, I saw on the Israel Railways Internet site that my fate is sealed for the coming months, and the station near my home will be closed," Inbar Sela, of Rosh Ha'ayin, said. Sela takes the train every day to classes at Tel Aviv University. "It usually takes me 20 minutes on the train. Now it will be an hour and a quarter, and that's without traffic. I have to take the bus to Petah Tikva and another bus to Tel Aviv."

Another traveler, Bar, a soldier who takes the train every day, said: "Usually when I travel from home in Kochav Ya'ir to Tel Aviv it takes me an hour, sometimes an hour and half. Today it took me two and a half hours." I had to take a bus to Kfar Sava that doesn't go by very often, and from there another bus to Tel Aviv, that, of course, was full to bursting."

Six passengers who arrived yesterday evening in Be'er Sheva got right on a bus that was waiting outside the train station to take them to Dimona. In normal times, they would have taken the train straight to Dimona. Peretz Ayush takes the train every morning from Dimona to work at an insurance company in Tel Aviv. "This is a huge annoyance for passengers," he said.

Another Dimona resident, Ohad Knoller, an actor, said: "I travel to Tel Aviv two or three times a week. A trip that should take two hours now takes three. Train service is down frequently in recent years. It changes all my plans. One of the reasons I came to Dimona is access to the train."