Jerusalem light rail takes first trip

A long-awaited light rail system in Jerusalem carried its first travelers after years of delay.

The train took its inaugural trip Aug. 19, traveling a 8.5-mile route from Mount Herzl in west Jerusalem, passing through eastern Jerusalem to end in Pisgat Ze’ev.

The light rail project was initiated in 1995 by then–Mayor Ehud Olmert, who promised a system within five years, but the project has since been plagued by delays.

The discovery of graves along the route forced adjustments after pressure from Orthodox Jews, while the find of ancient bathhouses and a sixth-century monastery caused further delays. Palestinians opposed the train for linking the west and east sides of Jerusalem.

The project cost is an estimated $1.4 billion. — jta