Public transport is a must, even for people who live under the toil of troubles and conflict. The Israeli town Sderot that borders the Gaza Strip has just got its first train station, linking them in a sustainable way to the center of the country.
The “mad” upside to this train station is that it’s been built with security in mind, and comes equipped with a dual functioning “armour” to protect locals from the regular barrage of rockets flying overhead.
We don’t like to dwell on conflict at Green Prophet but we are bringing this story up in the context of public transportation. Even though there is a seemingly no end in sight to the Middle East conflicts over here, it is good news that municipalities and governments plan for the interim.
Sometimes planners say, well let’s wait for the war to be over to think about trains, or the environment. In this case, the country has decided it must live with this reality of conflict and brace for it.
Rockets from Gaza have become a bizarrely “normal” way of life for people living in Sderot, Israel. The periphery town is cheap to live in, people are established there so they don’t want to move.
Schools and factories nearby are already outfitted with bomb shelters, as are peoples’ homes, so when planning their latest train station it had to be made to withstand rocket attacks.
Developed by architect Ami Shinar, the station is equipped with an extra long corridor (100 meters) which can be turned into a bomb shelter if the alarm sounds. The station was built bigger than an average train station to protect people if they need to run into the station for cover. Its walls are made from poured concrete about half a meter thick. It cost $14 million USD to build and it’s likely the only one of its kind in the world.
This station will open up more jobs and study opportunities for the people of Sderot. It will take them less than half an hour to reach Tel Aviv, which takes about an hour and a half by bus. For the next three months, residents of the city will get to use the train for free.
Some 20,000 people live in the city of Sderot, and if we can dream, this station might serve as a link one day to Gaza City –– in times of peace and prosperity for all. Let’s hope the children of our children will look at this station, built to withstand rockets, as a strange reminder of the times.
And of course the station will be out of service, because we’ll all be riding on Elon Musk’s Hyperloop!
Now we’re really dreaming.