The Jerusalem-Tel Aviv high-speed rail link is set to start operating from 30 March this year, Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz announced.

The new electric train is capable of running at a speed of 160km/h and can carry up to 1,000 passengers, reported media sources.

It is initially scheduled to operate from Binyenei Ha’uma station in Jerusalem Central Bus Station to the Hagana train station in Tel Aviv via Ben Gurion airport every half an hour on a single line.

“The new electric train is capable of running at a speed of 160km/h and can carry up to 1,000 passengers, reported media sources.”

The frequency of operations will be increased using both tracks of the line at a later date.

Passengers possessing a Rav-Kav multi-ride public transport card will be able to travel free for the first three months of operation.

Construction work on the $1.8bn Tel Aviv-Jerusalem rail project originally began in 2001.

The line is expected to serve more than four million passengers per year following the commencement of full operations.

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Katz was quoted by media sources as saying: “When I started my job, I instructed the Ministry of Transportation and Israel Railways to act immediately to advance the high-speed railway in Jerusalem, after four years in which the project was stuck.”

The minister is also expected to lead a test run along a section of the rail line between Sha’ar Hagai and Modi’in, reported jpost.com.