Instead of postponing the opening date of new public transportation lines, maybe it is possible to not set them at all. The Jerusalem Municipality and Ministry of Transportation announced today the beginning of infrastructure works on the “Campus Line”, in which two new branches to the existing Red Line will be built and connect Givat Ram and Mount Scopus to the rail. Concurrently, preparation and infrastructure duplication works will be carried out for the purpose of extending the line to Kiryat Yuval, Kiryat Menahem and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. These works will take approximately 30 months to complete, while at the same time negotiations are being held with CityPass regarding track placement and top structures.
Should the negotiations not succeed in time, or another company will be the one responsible for track placement, there might be a cessation of works between infrastructure duplication and actual work on the rail line, this being the reason why the Ministry of Transportation and the Jerusalem Municipality are not planning an opening date for the Campus Line and the extended Red Line. The extended Red Line will span a total of 21km in length (of which 14km are already in use by the Light Rail today, D.S.), and have 31 stations along its path, of which 22 are already active. An estimated 230,000 daily passengers are expected to use it, compared to 140,000 today.
The Campus Line is based, mainly, on the existing Red Line rails and short rail branches will make it possible to offer service to the Hebrew University campuses and Kiryat HaMemshala employees. The total length of the Campus Line will be 10km, of which 6.5km are part of the existing rail. It will include 6 new stations and 10 existing ones. 50,000 passengers are expected to use it daily. In order to operate the two new lines, 100 rail cars are needed, where 46 already exist and the rest will be gradually purchased.
The infrastructure works, carried out by Moria – Jerusalem Development Corporation, will include a route along the road for the Light Rail tracks, implementation of new traffic arrangements, upgrading public space, clearing underground infrastructures from underneath the roads and building new and improved infrastructures in their stead, under the sidewalks, for supply of water, electricity, drainage, communication lines and a sewage system.
2,500 new trees will be planted throughout the length of both work sites – between Henrietta Szold St. and Hadassah Ein Kerem, which is 3.25km long, as well as between Kiryat Moshe and the entrance to the Hebrew University campus in Givat Ram, which is approximately 1km in length and constitutes the southern part of the Campus Line. Additionally, hundreds of other trees will be preserved in their place or relocated to HaTsofim River.
Nadav Maroz, CEO of Jerusalem Transport Master Plan, the Light Rail’s regulator, said that “we are succeeding in expanding the Light Rail sector, thanks to support from the Mayor, Minister of Transportation and Ministry of Finance. Today, everyone is aware of the Light Rail’s advantages and its great contribution to the quality of life and the municipal environment, upgraded infrastructures, sustainability and development. We have always stated that the rail provides stimulus for urban development, fast and efficient service for public transportation passengers, reducing travel via private vehicles and a decrease in air pollution.”