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The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Tel Aviv, Israel
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768 posts
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The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Just had to share …

This week I took the train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on my own, when I could just sit and enjoy the view.

It was heaven! I timed it so that I would arrive in Jerusalem as the sun was setting. I made sure to sit on the left of the train, window seat, facing forward.

……

The train leaves on the dot.

The first part of the journey takes me out of the built up areas of Tel Aviv to reveal intimate glimpses of people’s back yards. Within minutes I am seeing planted fields, sheep and even some domestic camels. I sweep by Lod, Ramle, and then I am away from human habitation. A look at the map will reveal that in this tiny country, these fields are an even tinier part – but somehow as you travel along you feel as if you are a thousand miles from civilization. The waving wheat is a rich green, the searing winds have not yet turned it golden. Then the track veers eastward and more fields are on the left, a Tel stands out upon the plain (Samson was here!), a forested slope is on the right, and the wild flowers are competing for my attention.

Bet Shemesh; the train empties and I know the best is yet to come. Towering cliffs on the right, the valley falling away below on the left, with glimpses of rushing water, the Sorek River. Yellow is the predominant colour, broom, acacia, wild chrysanthemums, mustard, with here and there a splash of red, anemones, red buttercups, poppies. The glorious redbud tree with its deep pink blossom, the cream flowers of the strawberry tree and the creamier flowers of the storax, all delight the eye.

I see kingfishers and jays, kestrels and eagles. A family of chukkars scuttle up the embankment (why do these birds never fly, I wonder). A jackal is hunting, following a well-worn path.

Ancient terraces, originally built by the returning Children of Israel 3000 years ago, straddle the hills. Today they encompass tiny plots planted with vegetables, vines, olive trees. I know I am approaching Jerusalem.

Whoever said this train is not fast enough has never travelled on it. The speed is perfect for watching nature as we pass it by –I find myself looking at my watch, wishing for the time to go slower.

Sadly the journey is at an end!

I'll be back!

Pamela Levene

p.s An hour and a half of sheer bliss for 20 shekels (less than 5 dollars)

Tel Aviv, Israel
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768 posts
2 reviews
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1. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

p.s. Don't know how I managed to post this under Arad!

Obviously that is not where the Jerusalem Tel Aviv train goes.

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44 reviews
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2. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

I agree with you on the beauty of the scenery. I took it on a day when it was raining cats and dogs and it was really magic.

But if you take the train for a more mundane reason - say, to get from point A to point B - then it's really really slow.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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768 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Oh Anon!

So you would “save” half an hour. But at what cost?

You took me back to my childhood, remembering a poem I learned that would answer you more eloquently than I could – and with the wonders of internet I found it, so here it is - with my own addition at the end!!!

"LEISURE"

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

By Wm. Henry Davies.

________________________

No time to take a journey through the hills

To briefly escape from all life’s ills.

To watch from a window as delights unfold

Waiting to see what each view will hold.

A poor life this, if full of strain

We have no time to take the train!

By Pm. Joyce Levene

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44 reviews
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4. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Weeel...leisure is also the opportunity to see your family earlier - or to read a book in your favourite chair and not on the train..

Tel Aviv, Israel
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768 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

On a practical note, anyone wishing to use the train for any reason, you can check out the schedules on their web site

http://www.israrail.org.il/english/index.html

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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6. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Thanks for the travelogue, Pamela. I could "see" it as I read.

Douglas Duckett

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Berlin, Germany
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473 posts
54 reviews
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7. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Could not make head or tails of the website. What are the train times from TLV?

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv
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1,476 posts
75 reviews
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8. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Trains to Jerusalem leave Tel Aviv center (savidor)at: 5:54, 6:54 then every 2 hours till 16:54, 17:54,19:54

This is te time table for tomorrow.

To see more, you can easily go into the new site www.rail.co.il, select English on the left upper cornerand use the Jurney planner for the specific day you want. You get the time table in sections, and you can see another section using the later or Earlier buttons.

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9. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Since the OP, I have taken to ride the train early mormning from Jerusalem to tel Aviv. It truly cuts down traffic jams. for other times of the day, if you are in a hurry, it's not a good option.

Jerusalem, Israel
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717 posts
7 reviews
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10. Re: The Tel Aviv Jerusalem train

Thank you, Pamela, for this wonderful description. Indeed, a ride on this train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv is a pure blessing...

However, it was even more romantic when the trains departed from the old Jerusalem train station, and when they still had the old carriages from the British Mandate Era. It is a shame how the old train station looks today!