The Carmelit is one of the world's smallest subways. If one does considers the Istanbul Tunnel (2 stations, 0.573 km/0.35 miles) to be a part of the larger, sepaprate Istanbul subway, then the Carmelit is the smallest subuway 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 roster consists of just 4 cars and two 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 papssengers per day) and has been losing money ever since that reopening. The line was shut down again following a fire on February 4, 2017 that caused significant damage to one of the trains. The shutdown was also used to refurbish the control center and other system components. The Carmelit reopened in October 2018. There have been extension propopsals 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 eves, 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 two platforms on each side of the single track, although at B'nei Tzion and Masada, 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 pylon indication the trains' locations nearby. Stations are not handicapped accessible (the platforms and trains both have stairs) but many station 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.
Von Roll Funicular at Paris Square, January 17, 2007
Von Roll Funicular at Gan Ha'em, January 18, 2007
Von Roll Funicular Interior
Gan Ha'em Station, January 17, 2007
Gan Ha'em Station with turnstiles in foreground, January 17, 2007
Hanevi'im Station, January 18, 2007
Entrance to the Hanevi'im Station, January 16, 2007