ISRAEL Railways operated its first trial train on the new line from Ben Gurion Airport to Modi'in on July 2. The IC3 Flexliner DMU carried guests from the local municipalities and selected press representatives, covering the 14 km in around 20 min.

Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz had already announced that regular services will start on August 31, running as far as the intermediate station at Modi'in Outskirts; the final section of line into the town's underground terminus at Modi'in Central is expected to open by the end of this year.

The 19 km extension from Ben Gurion Airport includes 12 bridges with a combined length of 3·5 km and 3 km of tunnel; total cost of the project is put at US$337m.

ISR plans to run 29 trains each way per day between Modi'in and Tel Aviv, with most continuing north to Haifa and Nahariya. According to ISR General Manager Ofer Linchevsky, the new line will carry around 1·2 million passengers in 2008, and take around 3 000 cars a day off the parallel roads, saving the country US$12m a year.

  • In its half-year report published on July 11, ISR announced that it had carried 15 million passengers in the first six months of 2007, 5% up on the same period in 2006. During June traffic totalled 2·59 million passenger journeys, 11·6% up on June 2006.