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Hijaz Railway
Arabic: 'al-khatt 'al-hadīdiyy 'al-hijāziyy
Turkish: Hicaz Demiryolu
Other spellings: Hejaz; Hedjaz; Hidjaz



Passengers on 3rd class on the Hijaz railway. Photo from 1908.
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Remaining tracks of the railway, here near Wadi Rum, Jordan

The actual train

Still out there, the sabotaged locomotive of the railway. In Saudi Arabia.
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Hijaz train station, Damascus

Hijaz train station in Damascus in the 1910's.
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Hijaz train station in Madina (now Saudi Arabia).

Hijaz train station in Madina (now Saudi Arabia).

Railroad between Damascus, Syria and Madina (then Hijaz, now Saudi Arabia), 1,320 km long.
Among the main purposes of the railway was to help pilgrims to travel to the two cities of Madina and Mecca, perceived as the most holy by Muslims. The planned destination was Mecca, a work which was begun but never completed.
The railway was initiated by the Ottoman authorities, built under German administration, but largely with local labour.
The railway, which ran through desolate regions, was a victim to attacks from local Arabs and Bedouins. The railway was fully operational only for a short period, between 1908 and 1916. Since then, it is only the line between Damascus and Amman which has been used.

History
1900: Construction of the railway is begun.
1908 September 1: The railway is completed and opened.
1913: The Hijaz Train Station is opened in Damascus.
1916: Arabs revolt against the Ottomans, and with British assistance (T.E.Lawrence) the line south of Maan (until Madina) is destroyed. It would never reopen.




By Tore Kjeilen