Work on a $750m high-speed rail link between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv has been suspended, Israel Railways has announced.

The line which was scheduled to open in 2008 will not be complete before 2016 due to a dispute with environmental groups, the company said.

The project is being held up over a dispute with environmental groups over a valley in the hills on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where a 150m bridge is supposed to be constructed for the train line.

When it is complete, the express train, which will make stops in Modi’in and at Ben-Gurion International Airport, is expected to be the fastest method of transportation between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Travel time will be cut to half an hour from the existing duration of one-and-a-half hours.