THE delayed Tel Aviv Red Line light rail line opened on August 18, after Israeli prime minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, led the inauguration ceremony on August 17.

The 25km line runs from HaKomemiyut in the south, north and northeast to Petah Tikva, with a branch with two stations running from Aharonovich to Kiryat Arye. The line includes a 12km underground section from Elipelet station to Shenkar station. The line has 34 a total of stations, including 10 underground.

Major construction work on the line was launched on August 3 2015 with the start of excavation at the junction of Allenby Street and Yehuda Halevi Street. Civil works on the Red Line were carried out by a 51:49 joint venture between China Railway Tunnel Group and Solel Boneh Infrastructure, Israel, under a Shekels 3.1bn ($US 820m) design-build contract awarded by Tel Aviv Metropolitan Mass Transit System (NTA). The line will be operated by Tevel Metro.

“This is a day of celebration for the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said at the inauguration in Petach Tikva. “Today, we are realising the transportation vision of Israel: we promised to link between and within cities and between countries, and we are doing all three.”

The line will operate between 05.40 and 00.00, with services on Friday stopping 1h 30min before Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, starts at sunset on Friday. Trains will operate every 3.5 minutes during peak periods and six minutes off-peak. The system will not operate on Saturdays or Jewish holidays.

The line is equipped with CBTC, allowing LRVs to operate at Grade of Automation 2 (GoA 2) in the underground section, with the driver responsible for closing the doors and supervising operation. LRVs are driven manually on line of sight on the surface sections with the assistance of a train protection system. The train control system can also be monitored from the Operational Control Centre (OCC) at the depot, which is able to remotely stop the train in the event that the driver is incapacitated.

NTA depot manager, Mr Igal Nisimov, says passengers queued from 05.30 to ride the first train. The CEO of NTA, Mr Haim Glik, and the CEO of Tevel Metro, Mr Amiram Ohayon, also presented the youngest passenger on the first service with a commemorative certificate.

Fares for a single journey range from Shekels 5.50 for a shorter distance to Shekels 12 for the full length of line.

The line connects Tel Aviv with four smaller cities: Bat Yam, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, and Petah Tikvah.

Construction is underway on Tel Aviv’s Purple and Green lines.

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