Jerusalem tram in Cfir livery

ISRAEL: The Cfir grouping of CAF and local company Shapir Engineering Ltd took over as operating concessionaire for the Jerusalem light rail network on April 16, succeeding CityPass which had held the contract to operate the Red Line for the past 10 years.

Under the 15-year concession contract awarded in August 2019 Cfir will also be responsible for delivering and operating extensions of the 13·8 km Red Line, north to Neve Ya’akov and south from Mount Hertzel to the Hadassah hospital. Work is already underway, with completion anticipated within 18 months. Construction has also started on the 22 km Green Line, which will run from the Gilo district in the south to Mount Scopus in the north with branches to Malha in the south and Givat Shaul in the west; opening of this route is planned within four years.

Within the consortium, Shapir is responsible for building and maintaining the civil works, while CAF will supply 114 Urbos LRVs to expand the fleet, as well as refurbishing the 46 Alstom Citadis trams currently operating the Red Line. Light rail ridership is expected to increase from 16 000 to 400 000 passengers/day once the extensions and new line have been completed.

Planning is also underway for the 20 km Blue Line, which will run from Gilo to Ramat-Eshkol and Ramot in the north, with branches from Geula to Ramat-Eshkol and from Khan to Malha in the south. Projected to carry 250 000 passengers/day, the Blue Line is expected to open around 2030.

Marking the transfer of operations to the new concessionaire, Transport Minister Miri Regev said ‘after completion of the three lines, Jerusalem will be the first Israeli city to enjoy a smart public transport system covering many area safely and efficiently.’