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Jerusalem’s tram all set to begin services

March 28, 2011

Jerusalem Tram (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner) (Sebastian Scheiner, AP / March 20, 2011)

Jerusalem Tram (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner) (Sebastian Scheiner, AP / March 20, 2011)

After years of delays, Jerusalem’s historic light rail is set to begin running next month, completing a journey that has circumvented ancient bones, archaeological treasures, budget overruns and political controversies that have repeatedly threatened to derail the project.

For its proponents, the rail system is a long-awaited effort to modernize one of the world’s oldest cities. Planners seek to reduce congestion on its overwhelmed roads and breathe new life into a downtown that never fully recovered from a spate of suicide bombings a decade ago that scared away merchants and shoppers.

Crews have been putting the finishing touches on the system as futuristic silver electric cars glide silently past Jerusalem’s old stone buildings and open air markets on test runs, ultra-Orthodox Jews in traditional garb looking on. The official launch is a few weeks away.

“Despite all the problems we have, this will save Jerusalem,” said Shmuel Elgrabli, spokesman for the light rail’s government-managed development team.

Read more at: Jerusalem tram winds its way around city’s political, religious and archaeological barriers

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

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