Sunday, May 24, 2009


I see on Ynet (Israeli news site) that all the trains in Israel have been halted since 18:15 tonight, because of a fault in the central control office. Now it seems to me that the trains here have way more issues than necessary. They are always repairing the track or going on strike or just generally not working. Last week I took the train from Herzliya to the kid's school. It's one stop. Cost 11 NIS. The train arrived on time, but was completely full with people standing all over. The trip was uneventful but for some poor chap who thought I was the train conductor and could tell him where he could get water and how long to Netanya South. I told him this was the first time I had been on a train in Israel and had no idea. "Oh", he said, "You just started working today". So I just gave up, I pointed him to the toilet behind us and told him its two stops to Netanya.

My major complaint about the trains is the unreasonably long wait in the car at train crossings. You often have to wait more than three minutes, especially if there are trains coming in opposite directions. I once called and complained and they told me the trains need to stop for this long because of suicides. I swear. Someone once committed suicide by jumping in front of a train in Kfar Shmiryahu. So now the barriers go down for three minutes, there is a guard physically posted at the crossing whenever the trains are running and they installed a special radar to warn of obstacles on the track (It messes with BBC reception on AM). All this to stop suicides. Surely if you want to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train, you won't let radar stop you. Perhaps the plan is that during the long wait at the barriers suicides will reconsider.

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