Greetings! I am in between projects here in Israel and Mary and I are spending a week relaxing in Tel Aviv. I love railroads and today we decided to take the new “fast train” to Jerusalem. Spoiler alert: this is not a high–speed “bullet train.”
The journey is divided into two parts. The first part is the normal train ride from Tel Aviv (HaShalom Station) to Ben Gurion Airport (15 min. ride). At Ben Gurion we changed to the “fast train” to Jerusalem. A lot of travelers with luggage boarded the train with us—it was about 1/2 full. The cars are very clean and the journey took 25 minutes. We arrived at the brand new Yitzak Navon deep–underground station. Most travelers took the elevators to the surface. But we just got on the return train back to Tel Aviv. The train from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion was e-m-p-t-y.
My Impressions: The train is not as “fast” as I thought it would be. But it is non–stop between Ben Gurion and Jerusalem. I was expecting some great vistas because for many years we have seen the tressels over the Aijalon Valley (Joshua and sun standing still) and over the deep Soreq Valley system near Jerusalem. Unfortunately, all the windows were dirty or “cloudy” and so the pictures did not turn out too well. In addition, at least 1/2 of the journey is in tunnels—so no views at all. Actually, it was basically ALL long tunnels from the Aijalon Valley up to the Soreq Valley, just outside of Jerusalem—and then we had a 30 second view of the Soreq before entering the last tunnel into Jerusalem. It was interesting, that as we were ascending to Jerusalem in one of the tunnels we, and the travelers around us, began to feel discomfort in our ears—it soon faded.
The following are some photos I took. My photo processor is not working on this trip, so the photos are direct from the camera to you—sorry about that.
My conclusions: I was fun to do this! 1) If you are traveling with a group, the bus pickup at Ben Gurion is the way to go. 2) If you are alone, if you take the train, then you will need to take a Taxi from the Navon Station in Jerusalem to your hotel. 3) If you have friends from Jerusalem that are picking you up, you can save them a lot of time by not going to Ben Gurion to pick you up. Just have them pick you up at the Navon Station in Jerusalem. The reverse will work slick as well. BTW — I don’t think the train operates all night, you will have to check.
Also, 4) if you are traveling to Tel Aviv or points north, I think the “regular train,” that seems to operate every half hour, will take you to, for example, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa, and Nahariya—this would be slick!
So there you go! I hope the comments are helpful. We enjoyed the journey and are very glad we had the chance to do it.
Next project: the train from Haifa to Beth Shean. Hmm . . . we’ll see!
PS — the whole round trip cost for each of us was 13.50 NIS, about = $3.80. I am not sure if we missed paying for extra tickets somwhere along the way, but hey . . . .