Crews broke ground in Tel Aviv on Feb 19 on the city’s light rail mass transit system, which is due to be operational in 2024 — and the driving technological force behind the future transport system comes from China.
As mass transit systems go, the one planned for Tel Aviv isn’t that big of a deal.
When it’s fully operational, an estimated 200 million people per year will board its different lines — 15 of those underground. Compare that with the world’s busiest subway network in Beijing servicing more than 3 billion riders per year via 230 below-ground stations.
However, what is impressive about Tel Aviv’s new rail system is how it is being built and by whom.
“In China, we have built hundreds of metro lines in more than 35 cities, so we can share this technology in Israel,” said Wang Kun, director at the overseas division of China Railway Tunnel Group (CRTG).
China’s CRTG excavation is the company burrowing 30-meter deep tunnels below the city streets using the world’s most advanced technology.
CRTG uses TBM’s, or Tunnel Boring Machines, to drill through more than a dozen kilometers of rock and grit.
Each TBM weighs 700 tons, is manned by 20 Chinese operators and cuts 20 meters of tunnel per day.
Israel’s transport minister has said this is the first time a Chinese company has bid on an Israeli project — a precedent that will establish continued, future collaboration.