When I was a very little girl, in London, they still had trolley buses, that were powered by electricity from overhead cables. But they were replaced by the then-new Routemaster buses, which ran on diesel, and the unsightly overhead electrical cables were dismantled. That was considered progress. How ironic that what was once considered modern, is now considered a blight on the environment, polluting the air with carbon monoxide fumes and using up fossil fuels – and that the Jerusalem Municipality Transport Department’s vision of the future is a light railway, which will run on electricity, from overhead cables!

To this end, the citizens of Jerusalem have been subjected, for almost a decade, to the repeated digging up of our roads and the conversion of the centre of town to something resembling a building site. However, the end is, hopefully, at long last in sight.  For the last few months, they have been conducting test runs of the light railway which, incidentally, was supposed to start carrying paying passengers on April 17th of this year – but (unsurprisingly) hasn’t.  I must say, the appearance of the downtown triangle as a near-pedestrian precinct, is a great improvement on the way it looked before and the new light railway carriages are sleek and imposing.

Since no vehicular traffic is now permitted in Jaffa Road, other than the light railway, it is much cleaner and quieter these days – and the sound of the approaching train (or should I call it a tram?)  with its distinctive warning bell, can be heard for a considerable distance, even though the bell is not, in fact, very loud.  In fact,whenever I hear it, I can’t help but think to myself: Clang, clang, clang went the trolley. Ding, ding, ding went the bell…



About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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