ISR General Manager Yitzhak Harel ISRAEL: ISR General Manager Yitzhak Harel visited the new central station in Modi’in on April 1 to mark the start of revenue services on the final 6 km section of the new line from Ben Gurion Airport which opened as far as Modi’in Outskirts station on September 1 last year.

A formal opening ceremony had been scheduled for April 8, with Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, the ministry’s General Manager Gideon Sittermann and the mayor of Modi’in Moshe Spector, but the event has been postponed to a later date.

The four-platform Modi’in Merkaz station lies 30 m below ground, and has three levels. It has cost US$42·5m to build, which is approximately 10% of the total cost of the new line. The station provides interchange with three Veolia-operated bus routes which serve the whole of Modi’in city.

The line is currently served by 29 trains each way per day, between 05.30 and 23.15, with a half-hourly frequency at peak times. Journey time from Modi’in Merkaz to and Tel-Aviv Hahagana is 27 min, including intermediate stops at Modi’in Outskirts and Ben-Gurion Airport. Some trains run through from Tel Aviv to destinations on the coastal route as far north as Nahariya.

During the opening, Harel described the new line to Modi’in as ‘the biggest and most complex infrastructure project built in Israel in recent years, with far reaching macro-economical implications’. He said that ISR had decided to open the station despite the fact that the Ministry of Housing had not yet finished the related development works around the new terminus. ‘I’ve decided to open the station for the public good, and I expect that the ministry will do all to accelerate and finish the works as soon as possible’, he explained.

ISR expects the line to carry around 1 million passengers in 2008, rising to 1·2 million in subsequent years, which is an average of more than 4 000 passengers/day. More than 800 passengers rode the trains in the first 2 hours of service.