Feb 19, 2018

Will new high speed train be safe?

The Ministry of Transportation recently announced the end of March, Erev Pesach, as the date for the opening of the first stage of the high speed rail between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with the new train being available to bring tens of thousands of people to Jerusalem for the holidays at very high speeds.

truly a wonderful and optimistic announcement.

Globes is reporting that experts are warning that the project is not even close to being ready and there is no way they will be able to safely operate the new line at the end of March - unless they speed up the work and in the process ignore important safety factors. You can get all the details of the various concerns in the Globes article, but the issues are truly concerning and one wonders how the MoT really expects to be ready, considering the issues raised by those experts.

Hopefully the experts are just being overly cautious with their warnings, but hopefully there will not be a horrible tragedy when the train opens. The MoT response is that they are working very hard with all the relevant parties and authorities and are making great efforts to finish on time while ensuring passenger safety.

Nobody really believed, from day 1, that the project would be finished on time. The agressive target date recently announced brought out more skepticism, but also made one wonder why pick such an early date if they are not even close to ready, suggesting that perhaps they are further along than expected. They now have about 5.5 weeks until the conductor is supposed to toot the first horn on that line, so it is coming down to the wire. I probably would not have been on any of those first few days of train rides anyway, just because I don't like to go to such events and attractions with big crowds, but now I will probably just stay away until it is clear that train route is safe.

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