Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Incoming Train

I'm offline most of the time these days, hence no blogging. Still, things can happen even in the real world out there. The other day, for example, I heard a short presentation from a fellow who's involved in the very large project of building a new train line up to Jerusalem. Much of it will be underground; occasionally it will cross high above valleys; travel time from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, once it's completed, will be about half an hour, and the final station will be deep underneath Jerusalem.The whole thing will be quite dramatic.

The fellow started his presentation by showing a black and white postcard. (Note to readers born after 1980: Postcards were smallish pieces of cardboard with a picture on one side and a couple of square inches on the other side on which folks used to write a short message and then send through the mail. Real mail. Oh, forget it). The message said that the sender had just arrived in Paris, and was planning to take the train to Frankfurt, which he would reach at 10:37am.

"The writer was my grandfather, it was 1959, and although he's no longer alive, I have no doubt he indeed reached Frankfurt at 10:37 the next morning. Half a century later, here I am beavering away on this project, and I have no idea what year it will be when the train finally reaches Jerusalem".


Silke said...

it might have been one of these

as to trains being on time - it is said that they once were, come rain or come shine, though my memory doesn't agree (der Zug auf Gleis 5 hat 8 Minuten Versp├Ątung would have been a nice one) but these days complaints about delays are always good for another lament in the MSM.

Bryan said...

I was born quite a while after 1980, and I most certainly know what a postcard is.

Of course, my family also had a rotary phone, a television made in the 1960s, and a copy of our oven was in the Smithsonian as a "historic artifact," so perhaps I'm not the best example.

How far along is this new train line project? Are they already laying down tracks or is he still wrestling with bureaucracy to get it off the ground?

Anonymous said...

Way back in the 1980's I took the most beautiful train ride from Emek Refaim (Jerusalem) to Tel Aviv.

It took about 2 hours.


Barry Meislin said...

Um, maybe in Israel, it's more reassuring that the trains don't run on time.

That is, that they run on Israeli time.

File under: "Inconvenient maybe, but worth it"(?)

MSS said...

Half an hour from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That will be fantastic.

Will the existing (and historic) scenic, but slow, line go out of service?

I miss postcards...

Lee Ratner said...

I think that one of Israel's greatest transportation policy failures is relying on busses rather than trains as the main form of public transportation, especially since they inherited a relatively good rail network from the Mandate. Israel proper is only the size of NJ. Israel with the WB/Gaza/Golan is only a little over ten thousand square miles. Either way, its a very dense place. Rail makes sense as a transportation option under these circumstances.

Plus, I think that a good rail net would serve to consolidate Israeli control over its territory because of the permanency of rail.