Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway Line Debuts

August 27, 1892

The first passenger train arrives in Jerusalem from Jaffa as part of the first railroad project in the Levant, the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway line. Reducing the trip from the seaport to the capital from two days to just four hours was an important economic and social development in Palestine at the time. Rails were brought from Belgium and coal from Britain in order to complete construction of the very difficult 53 mile route. The official opening of the line would take place with a ceremony in September.

Writing for Scribner’s Magazine in 1893, Selah Merrill, the American consul in Jerusalem described the scene, “During the month of August (1892), tens of thousands of people, for the first time in their lives, have seen a railroad and a train of cars. They have had a revelation, and in the great city as well as in the dirtiest village of the land, wonder is at its height…Let all the world rejoice if this medieval country is experiencing a sensation which it can hardly comprehend.”

Read Merrill’s complete article, “The Jaffa and Jerusalem Railway”