Israel Railways: Jerusalem to Bet Shemesh
The route from Jerusalem up to Tel Aviv follows the route of Israel's first railroad, the Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway, an old narrow-gauge route that was opened in 1892 by a French company in what was then Ottoman-controlled Palestine. The line was upgraded to standard gauge in 1920 during the British Mandate. Service ended during the war for independence, but was resumed in 1950 under the control of Israel Railways, the government-owned national railway company that is responsible for all inter-city and suburban railway passenger and freight traffic in the country. Service on the line was suspended in 1998 but resumed in 2003 after extensive renovation of the line.
The topography surrounding Jerusalem is mountainous and the section of the line between Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh runs through the mountains along the Refa'im Stream. While this makes the line scenic, the absence of tunnels or deep cuts necessitates a significant amount of curvature, making the travel on the line slow and generally uncompetitve with motor coaches on Highway 1 expressway.
The rolling stock for my trip to Tel Aviv was a IC3/PRA(II) Diesel multiple unit, built in 1995 by Adtranz Denmark. I would have gotten some better pictures of the train itself, but I was concerned about calling the attention of the security folks to my photography - something that would happen later north of Tel Aviv.