Haifa, Israel

From nycsubway.org


The Carmelit is one of the world's smallest subways. (If one considers the Istanbul Tunnel, 2 stations, 0.573 km/0.35 miles, to be a part of the larger, separate Istanbul subway, then the Carmelit is the smallest subway in the world.) It is an underground funicular system with 6 stations along a single track, 1.8 km (1.1 miles) line. The system's rolling stock consists of just 4 cars making up two 2-car trains. It takes no more than 8 minutes to ride the entire line.

The Carmelit originally opened in 1956, and was closed in 1986 for extensive renovations. It reopened in 1992, but has little ridership (about 2,000 passengers per day) and has been losing money ever since it reopened in 1992. There have been extension proposals so that the system would serve a larger part of the city; others have suggested that the Carmelit be shut down entirely.

Today, the trains operate about every 10 minutes from 6 AM to 10 PM Sunday-Thursday, 6 AM to 3 PM on Friday and holiday evenings, 7 PM or after the Jewish Sabbath ends until 10 PM on Saturdays, 6 AM to 2 PM on Passover eve, 6 AM to 1 PM on Yom Kippur eve, and is closed on Yom Kippur Day.

Each station has a platform on each side of the single track, although at B'nei Tzion and Massada, only one platform (the western platform) is actually in use. At the stations with two usable platforms, passengers board the train from the eastern platform (on the right hand side as the train heads downhill towards Downtown and Paris Square) and exit on the western platform. Each station has an easily recognizable yellow canopy over the stairways leading into the system, with a display mounted on a pylon indicating the trains' locations. Stations are not handicapped accessible (the platforms and trains both have stairs) but several stations have an escalator for going up.

Each train is two cars long. Like on many European systems, doors are manually opened at each station by the push of a button, or they can all be opened by the train operator. The train operator also closes the doors, although he does not operate the train. Both trains begin to move automatically once they have finished their station stops. Because the subway is a funicular, the trains are always either both in motion or both at a stop.

Each ride costs 5.50 New Israeli Shekels (about $1.30). Tickets are purchased from vending machines in each station with an LCD screen that displays prompts in either Hebrew or English. The machines accept coins and credit cards. The machines also sell round trip tickets and 10-trip tickets. To enter the system, one validates the ticket at a turnstile, which then permits entry.

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