The Jerusalem Planning Committee has approved the expansion plan for the Jerusalem light rail. The “Blue Line” plan was approved during a committee meeting on Wednesday, 17 Shevat and this will permit 20 kilometers (12 miles) of continuous travel on the light rail system when it is complete – from Gilo via the city center to Ramot and return. Another branch of the light rail system will be from Macha via Emek Refaim, Kahn Theater and then to Ramot. The Blue Line plan is being advanced by the Ministry of Transportation and Jerusalem City Hall as part of the overall mass transit system for the capital.
When it is completed, the Blue Line will join the Red Line which has been operating successfully in the city for the past four years, transporting 145,000 commuters daily. The Red Line will transport commuters from Mt. Scopus to the central bus station, the Arena Sports Center and to Gilo. This line awaits final approval, which is expected in the near future.
The Blue Line will travel from Gilo via Derech Chevron, the Kahn Theater, Keren HaYesod, King George and cross the Red line at Yaffo Street. It will then enter a tunnel for 1.2 kilometers to Golda Meir Blvd. after Bar Ilan Junction and from there continue to Ramot. The three stations will serve Strauss Street, Yechezkel Street and Shmuel HaNavi Street riders. There will also be a component of the Blue Line that travels from Malcha to the Arena, Katamon, Emek Refaim and the Germany Colony. It will then hook into the line heading to Ramot and as a result there will be light rails running on Derech Chevron and others on the Emek Refaim -Katamon-Malcha leg of the line.
When completed, the line will be 20km in length and serve 250,000 riders daily, supplying light rail service every 3-4 minutes during rush hour. There will be 90 cars, which represents 45 light rails since each runs two cars. When the other lines are completed, the system will serve 600,000 riders daily.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)