Baghdad’s commuter train is beautiful but slow

All aboard the Baghdad Metro is an article by Tina Susman and Caesar Ahmed on the Los Angeles Times website.

Dated November 18 2008, it describes the recently introduced Iraqi Republic Railways commuter service in Baghdad, with a simple map.

Despite the story’s title, it is about an Iraqi Republic Railways “mainline” rail service, not a “metro” as such. A metro was proposed for Baghdad in the past, but not built.

“If this succeeds, I think they’ll open more lines inside Baghdad,” says Thafir Salim, the engineer [train driver] on the route, which leaves the main station and weaves about 15 miles through west and south Baghdad on just two round-trip journeys a day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

There are six photos. Some show a Dalian DEM 2700 mainline locomotive, which seem to appear in most of the photos of IRR which I’ve seen, but some of the LA Times pictures seem to show a Tülomsas Bo-Bo diesel-hydraulic loco.

“It’s beautiful, but it’s slow,” says Mohammed Ali, a Baghdad University student who normally takes the taxi from his Dora home to school. But the first-time rider says he will keep taking it. “I think it’s more secure than the taxis,” he says. “What’s good here is there are no checkpoints, no traffic, no explosions.”

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