Rail transport in Israel has been modernized and extensively developed over a decade or so. That means the Israel Railway System, the country’s main railway company, offers a great option for commuters for getting around.
The Israel Railway System is still evolving. Government has put a lot of effort in improving the railway system, and the number of passengers and routes has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. Trains in Israel are generally clean, modern, air-conditioned and mostly reliable and relatively frequent. Still though, the system still lags behind the other public transportation systems.
The railway is most efficient on the Coastal Plain and the route to Modiin and Ben Gurion Airport is very popular.
The Israel Rail airport link is comparable to other airport rail links worldwide – fairly efficient and much cheaper than a taxi, but you have to carry your bags and then complete the journey in the city by bus or taxi. If you are travelling to places served, then it can be an efficient and economical way to get out of the airport and avoid the traffic.
The Israel Railways is also a useful link as far south as Beer Sheva and north to Netanya, Zikron, Haifa, Acre & Nahariya.
Israel Railways’ passenger terminal is the Jerusalem-Yitzhak Navon railway station, the country’s newest train station, having been opened in 2018. It is currently the world’s deepest heavy-rail passenger train station, and the fourth-deepest underground station in the world (at 80 meters deep). It is the eastern terminus of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway.
The track’s length measures 57 kilometers and includes significant amounts of additions and adjustments to ensure the fastest and the most comfortable train ride possible. This railway will significantly reduce traffic congestion on Highway 1, one of the Jerusalem’s main roads, as well as all major junctions that intersect this difficult road from Jerusalem to Gush Dan Metropolitan Area.
Jerusalem also has a light-rail system, simply called Jerusalem Light Rail (Harakevet Hakala Birushalayim). The line stretches from Pisgat Ze’ev in the North (Heil Ha’avir Station) to Mount Herzl in the West, with several stops along the way. Currently, only the Red Line section is the only one in operation. There are plans to extend the Red Line, while plans to open the Green Line have already been approved by the local government and the approval process to open the Blue Line is still ongoing as of this writing.
In Tel Aviv, there are four train stations spanning the city from North to South. All stations are situated in the eastern edge of the city, following the Ayalon Highway. From the station, you can go to Tel Aviv by foot, as it is a very walkable city. However, it might be easier to get a bus (that operate frequently to several central destinations) or hail a cab.
The Tel Aviv Center (or Tel Aviv Savidor Mercaz) is the city’s main train station, which is particularly convenient seeing as the Arlozorov Bus Terminal (Tel Aviv 2000 Terminal) is located just nearby, from where there are a great number of bus services within Tel Aviv and beyond, which include buses to Jerusalem in every ten to twenty minutes.
Other train stations in Tel Aviv include:
- Tel Aviv University – serves the northern neighborhood of Ramat Aviv and the university
- Tel Aviv HaShalom – serves the Azrieli Center (one of the country’s biggest malls) and The White City and Rothschild Boulevard.
- Tel Aviv HaHagana – serves the south of Tel Aviv.
Plan your train journey at Railway Info
Please note that there is still extensive infrastructure work taking place on the Israel rail network, this can sometimes result in a section of the network being completely closed for several days at a go. Check the Railway Website for details.
Take The Jerusalem Railway if you have some time to spare and you want a scenic view of the mountains.