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Middle East railway links

A few links to websites about railways in other countries which might be of interest. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, just a few pointers towards useful sources of information. Obviously I'm not responsible for their contents! If you feel inspired to compile a website or write a book on some of these places, let me know and I'll include a link.

International

  • The extremely useful European Railway Server includes some information on Middle Eastern and North African railways.
  • International Working Steam Locomotives has information on where it might be possible to find some kettles in the Middle East and elsewhere. There are also some links to details of railways in North Korea.
  • The Man in Seat 61 can tell you how to get to various exotic places by train. If you head for Iraq and find anything interesting, do let me know!
  • World railway industry news from Railway Gazette International magazine.
  • The Continental Railway Circle's quarterly magazine Continental Railway Journal has an incredible amount of information about railways in exotic places and out of the way parts of the world. It is well worth tracking down if steam in dodgy dicatorships or derelict locos in the jungles of a tropical island are your thing.

Afghanistan

Bahrain

  • No railways? Though one has been proposed for a causeway to Qatar.
  • It is possible to eat in an ex-British Rail mark one coach!

    [An ex-British Railways mark One coach in Bahrain] [An ex-British Railways mark One coach in Bahrain]
    David Kelso, March 2003

    According to the Southern Electric Group, buffet car 69338 from 4Big unit 2206/7054 is the station restaurant for the Gulf Corporation in Bahrain.

Egypt

[Steel in the Sand book cover]
  • The Independent Guide to Egyptian Railways. Timetables, gallery, and the book Steel in the Sand, which gives a very readable overview of the history of railways in Egypt. The book explains the development of the country's railways since the earliest days in the context of the politics of the day. Highly recommended: I found it interesting to read a book which considers the railways as a part of the society which built and uses them, as too many railway books simply look at the engineering aspects in a vacuum.
  • 150th anniversary of Egyptian railways.

Iran

Iraq

Israel

Jordan

Kuwait

  • There is a railway in the Entertainment City theme park, and something which might be a red locomotive hauling a three-carriage train is visible in the centre left of this photograph. It had a Crown Metal Products 4-4-0 loco, which might have been carted off to Baghdad during the 1991 conflict. Severn-Lamb Limited supplied a replacement.
  • There could also be a railway in the zoo where a train weaves its way among the tree shaded animal compounds.

Lebanon

  • It has had a rail network in the past, but CEL closed down all operations owing to persistent war damage. Most of the infrastructure there is reported to be still visible, and the company still technically exists.

Libya

  • Libyan Railways official site. The simple answer seems to be no, there aren't currently any railways in use in the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. But there were some in the past, and they claim to be building a massive new network. Or at least planning one!
  • I spoke to two representatives of Libyan Railways in September 2003. They said they were four to five years away from a train running. The first line will run west from Tripoli, but no construction work had actually started ...

Oman

  • No railways today?
  • From 1942 to 1977 there was the RAF Masirah Railway. Plateway Press publish a book on it by WJL Corser. [RAF Masirah Railway book cover]

    Bill Corser details the history of this exotic little railway from its inception, and brings the story up to the present day, as one of the locomotives has survived and lives on the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway. The story has been gleaned from wartime records and many personal recollections, and is presented using the words of those involved as much as possible. Maps showing the development of the line and drawings of the American and British locos and rolling stock complete this in-depth study of a most unusual narrow gauge railway. ISBN 1-899231-00-5

  • A railway is being planned (2004) to carry tourists around a cave.

Qatar

  • No railways, though one has been proposed for a causeway to Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Turkey

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

  • Historical notes from Eljas Pölhö
  • From 1916 to 1929 the Aden Railway ran from Ma'alla to Al Khudad, 46.3 km with 6 intermediate stations. The Turks surveyed the a Hodeidah Railway but it is unclear if it was ever built, though a snippet in the Railway Magazine in 1976 hinted at its construction. Neil Robinson is reseaching the area for an historical atlas of middle east railways.
© Andrew Grantham. Last update 2005-02-08. Do please let me know if you can add more information.
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