National Railway 'Dug the Wrong Way'

Technical malfunction apparently behind the blunder, which will set back Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway project by a few days.

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Illustration: Israeli train
Illustration: Israeli train
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel's national railway company has been digging two of the country's largest tunnels in the wrong direction, the daily Haaretz reported Thursday.    

The tunnels, part of a project to construct a high-speed railway line from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, "were dug off course for dozens of meters (yards) before the mistake was discovered a few days ago," the newspaper wrote. The tunnels "are currently positioned 60 centimetres (about two feet) off their planned route," it said.    

The error was likely due to a numerical mistake in the automated machine that bores the tunnels.    

It was unclear how far this would set back construction of the railway line, but digging was expected to resume "a few days after it is decided how to correct the error."    

A train journey between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv currently takes 90 minutes, roughly twice the amount of time it takes to travel by bus or car. The new 55-kilometer (35-mile) line, 15 kilometers (nine miles) of which will be through tunnels, is expected to reduce the journey time to 28 minutes.