Israel opened a high-speed rail link between Tel Aviv’s international airport and Jerusalem on Tuesday.
The train will cut travel time between Ben-Gurion Airport and a new, 80-metre-(260-foot)-deep underground terminal at the entrance to Jerusalem to around 20 minutes. By road, the trip takes at least 40 minutes.
At the airport, the bright red train drew smiles from eager passengers.
The train, traveling at speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour traverses a series of new tunnels and bridges, passing through hills between Jerusalem and the airport, about 40 km (25 miles) away.
On a test run last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the opening of the line was “an historic moment” heralding a “new era for Jerusalem and the state of Israel.”
There have been plans for a fast train between Jerusalem and the city of Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial hub on the Mediterranean coast, since 1995. But the project – infrastructure work began in 2005 – has been slow-moving, plagued by a lack of funding and environmental concerns.