ISRAEL Railways has reached agreement with the Ministry of Finance and the Airports Authority for construction of the long-planned rail link to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. The government will fund the US$25m cost of the 2 km branch, and the Airports Authority will provide the station and connections to the air terminals as part of its planned redevelopment programme this year.

The line will diverge from IR’s Tel Aviv - Lod line, and pass under the main road to Jerusalem to reach the airport. Journey time to and from Tel Aviv Savidor station will be 10 to 15 min.

The Ministry of Transport has also instructed IR to start detailed studies for an extension of the airport branch to the new town of Modi’in.This currently has around 30 000 inhabitants, but is expected to grow to 250 000, with many commuting to Tel Aviv each day. The Tel Aviv - Ben Gurion - Modi’in line could also form the first stage for a new or realigned route to Jerusalem.