ISRAEL Railways has set September 4 as the official opening date for the rail link between Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport. There will be 32 trains each way per day, covering the 8 km from the city centre in 10min.

To mark completion of the US$83m single-track branch, IR ran a special train to the airport in June. The airport station is located next to the new terminal which opens in November; until then a shuttle bus will run to and from the existing terminal.

According to General Manager Yossi Mor, IR passenger traffic in June topped 2 million trips, a 19% increase on the previous year taking the total for the first six months to 11 million. Patronage in May was 48% up on May 2003, thanks to an 88% increase on the Tel Aviv - Kfar Sava line which now has a 15min interval service at peak times.

  • July 19 was the closing date for tenders to electrify 300 route-km of the IR network; bids have been submitted by more than a dozen firms, including Alstom, Balfour Beatty and Siemens.