JTrain wins tender to build Jerusalem light rail Blue Line

Light rail in Downtown Jerusalem credit: Shutterstock
Light rail in Downtown Jerusalem credit: Shutterstock

The consortium of Dan, Denya Cebus and Spanish company COMSA will build and operate the line between Gilo and Ramot.

The JTrain consortium has been chosen as the winning bid in the tender to build the Jerusalem light rail Blue Line, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport and Jerusalem Municipality have announced. The JTrain consortium is comprised of construction company Danya Cebus (TASE: DNYA), public transport company Dan and Spanish infrastructure company COMSA. The project will be built using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) method with JRail building, operating, maintaining and financing the project.

The Jerusalem light rail Blue Line project will include building and laying the tracks for three lines extending over 31 kilometers from Gilo and Talpiot in southern Jerusalem to Ramat Eshkol and Ramot in the north of the city. The line will include a two kilometer underground section from Jaffa Road in the city center beneath Geula and Mea Shearim to Sanhedria. There will be 53 stations along the line including three underground stations. The project also includes a new light rail depot in Malkah to accommodate 66 new light rail trains manufactured by Polish company PESA. JTrain estimates that the project will cost NIS 9 billion to build.

According to the announcement, the Blue Line will begin operations in stages between 2028 and 2030, although sources in the industry believe that this is an over-ambitious target date.

30% difference from the other bids to maintain lines

There has been criticism of the slowness of the examination of the bids and the delay of one year in announcing the results. The examination included a technical phase and a financial phase and the delay was due to the aggressive offer by the winning group, with scrutiny focusing on its ability to realize its economic plans. The difference of the winning group's proposal was from the other bids to maintain lines. Another threat to the timetables lies in the widespread protests of part of the ultra-orthodox public against the construction of the lines.

There were also those surprised by the choice because in Jerusalem, Shapir and CAF are responsible for the construction of the other lines, and some believed that the tenders committee would prefer continuity and uniformity.

JTrain will operate the Blue Line for seven years with an option for another 18 years, while maintaining the network for 25 years.

The Jerusalem light rail Red Line between Pisgat Zeev and Mount Herzl began operating in 2011 and is currently being extended to Hadasah Hospital in the south and Neve Yaakov in the north. The Green Line between the Mount Scopus and Givat Ram campuses of the Hebrew University and Gilo is under construction and is due to be completed in 2025.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 22, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Light rail in Downtown Jerusalem credit: Shutterstock
Light rail in Downtown Jerusalem credit: Shutterstock
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