We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Jerusalem
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
3,656 posts
67 reviews
Save Topic
The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Generally the advice given on the forum is that the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train isn't a good option for most people; it's very slow compared to the bus; the station is far from the city center; and unless you're interested in train rides for the fun of it, it's best avoided.

Today I took the train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and back again for the first time for around 15 years. This is what I want to report:

The journey to Tel Aviv took 1hr 25 mins (I left at 9:25 a.m.). The journey back, leaving HaHagana station in Tel Aviv at 15:00 took exactly 65 minutes (I checked the times carefully). That is almost certainly no more than the bus took at that time of day, and quite possibly less.

The train was clean and comfortable. Going there was loads of room. Coming back there were more passengers (and I got on at the third stop in Tel Aviv in that direction), but still absolutely no problem getting a good seat.

I left my car at the station in Jerusalem. There's plenty of free parking. I had less than a minute to walk from my car to the ticket office. There are taxis waiting at the station, so even I hadn't had a car I could have made similar time if I was willing to pay for a taxi. Obviously by bus it would take a bit longer.

For me the journey compared very favorably to the bus. It takes longer to get to the CBS from the south of Jerusalem (and I'm in the German Colony - not that far south). The bus station is crowded and the underground tunnel where you go out to get on your bus has recorded some of the highest levels of air pollution in Israel.

Another advantage over the bus - for some reason, people seem to be much quieter on trains than on buses. A few people made some quiet cell phone calls (including me) but much of the time it was absolutely silent.

Lastly, the scenery is a real pleasure. You go through a lot of unspoiled hilly areas, underneath Palestinian villages, through farmland and up into Tel Aviv.

So my conclusion is that if any of the following apply to you, the train is definitely worth considering:

* You like a peaceful journey even if it's a couple of minutes longer

* You're leaving and/or returning to anywhere in south or west Jerusalem.

* You have a car or you don't mind taking a taxi.

* You're going somewhere in Tel Aviv relatively near one of the three stations the Jerusalem train stops at.

This post was NOT paid for by Israel Railways.

Mentioned in this post
Jerusalem Beach
Jerusalem Beach
333 Reviews
Tel Aviv, Israel
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem District, Israel
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
The German Colony
The German Colony
761 Reviews
Haifa, Israel
Israel
Israel
Middle East
The Jerusalem Hostel
The Jerusalem Hostel
404 Reviews
Jerusalem, Israel
Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
5,946 posts
151 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Great info PRSV, it has been many years since I have taken the train but I may be motivated to do so again based just on this report. The only thing for tourists is that most of the hotels are close to the CBS and that light rail makes it doubly easy. However, for the cost of a taxi, which isn't that much, a calmer, gentler ride sounds like a good trade off. For those people renting apartments out of the city centre, especially the south and west as you suggested, it might be just the ticket :)

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
39,302 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Thanks--I've known for awhile that certain places are definitely closer to the train. ie. if you are going to something at Teddy Stadium it is a 5 minute walk--as is the large Malcha Mall.

Mentioned in this post
Malcha Mall
Malcha Mall
39 Reviews
Jerusalem, Israel
Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
16,213 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

All true, but there is the disadvantage that trains are infrequent. They are at most once an hour, and there are several two-hour gaps each day. Compare that to buses every 10-15 minutes.

If there's a train at the time you want to go, or if you don't care what time you go... it can be a wonderful trip.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
39,302 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

I guess a summary statement would be that the train "may" be a viable alternative--depending upon where you are going and what time you want to leave Tel Aviv. It should NOT be summarily dismissed.

Mentioned in this post
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Jerusalem
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
3,656 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Exactly what rdglady said! - of course I'm not suggesting no-one should use the bus, but I really enjoyed the train and it was a much more practical option that I imagined (I had a work meeting and just decided to take the train for fun).

Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
847 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

The main disadvantage of the train is NOT the time the trip takes (10-25 minutes more is no great deal), but the distance of Jerusalem's train station from anywhere an average tourist might want to go and the frequency. If NOT coming from the airport (which requires first taking a train in the opposite direction to Tel Aviv and then taking the train to Jerusalem) and YES going to the southern/western part of the city, the train option should be considered since, as mentioned, it's a lovely ride.

Mentioned in this post
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem District, Israel
Haifa, Israel
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem
Level Contributor
5,150 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Thank you PRSV for backing up my opinion of the train being a viable transport option, which generally gets shouted down here. I commute Jerusalem-Haifa at least twice a week, and after a year taking the bus switched to the train. It is a much nicer journey than the bus for all the reasons you mention. Yes, it's a bit longer, but you can read/work on the train, there are plug sockets and the internet is better than on buses; you can eat coffee and snacks at your table (almost all the seating is at tables), there is a bathroom… But I do agree with ramot416's point that the train station is a pain to get to from most locations in Jerusalem, even south Jerusalem as most of the buses don't actually stop outside the station but rather a 10 minute walk away at the mall or by the technology park (go figure).

Mentioned in this post
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem District, Israel
Haifa
Haifa
Haifa District, Israel
Jerusalem
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
3,656 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Avigail9 - yes, I remember you telling me about your regular journeys to Haifa and that was one of the things that encouraged me to give it a go.

You're right about the buses. The connection between the CBS and Hahagana station in Tel Aviv could also be improved and signposted, whereas at the moment it's as though the trains and the buses are doing their best to ignore each other's existence.

Mentioned in this post
Haifa
Haifa
Haifa District, Israel
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Haifa, Israel
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem
Level Contributor
5,150 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

Don't tell too many people about the trains or they will get crowded like the buses! Right now I almost always get a whole table to myself, all the way to Tel Aviv… :)

Mentioned in this post
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
10. Re: The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train revisited

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 28 November 2014, 06:18