New York, NY- October 19, 2006: "Aimed to lure Israelis out of their cars, the $400+ hundred million dollar Jerusalem Light Railroad project has gained a full head of steam and progress is zooming along," says Consul Arie Sommer, Israel's Tourism Commissioner for North and South America.
The Light Rail, a combination street-car and subway line, will operate mostly above-ground and the first of seven lines is scheduled to open early next year. There will be twenty-four stations along the first route, with many located at major sight-seeing destinations — a major plus for tourists. This first line will extend 8 miles from the northern suburb of Pisgat Ze'ev, past Sho'afat, French Hill, Shivtei Israel and to the ancient walls of the Old City at the Damascus Gate. It then curves through the center of Jerusalem with stops at King George Street, the Mahane Yehuda market, the Jerusalem Bus Station at Jaffa West, and on through Bet Hakerem to Mount Herzl and Yad Vashem.
The ecologically friendly trains are expected to serve 100,000 passengers a day, greatly easing traffic congestion in Israel's capital, home to three-quarters of a million people.
The Light Rail is designed for easy access to all passengers, and is planned to run every 3-5 minutes during peak hours with digitally updated schedules and information displays. The street-cars will glide virtually silently. Far more efficient than buses, each car can carry up to 250-passengers, and cars can be added or subtracted according to demand. A non-consumer of oil, light rail power is fed overhead, by the same kind of electricity supplied to homes.
"The improvements to Jerusalem's infrastructure and quality of life on completion of this extraordinary project," commented Sommer, "will augur incalculable improvements in terms of traffic flow, safety, health, ease, efficiency and visitor-friendliness."
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