Rail cranes in Iraq

Chris Capewell has provided these details of rail-mounted cranes supplied to Iraq.

I suspect that the first steam powered breakdown cranes, on either standard or metre gauge, that may have arrived in Iraq would have been under the auspices of the British or Indian Army military during the Great War. However I have no evidence, though a more thorough search at the PRO or BL/India Office might be profitable.

The following are steam powered breakdown cranes known to have been shipped to Iraq. It is interesting that the first recorded order is for such a large capacity. It would have been contemporary with the Pacifics.

[Steam crane]
Photo: Des-Cad
4-8-4 with relieving bogies wheel arrangement, at the Carlisle works of Cowans Sheldon. No. 9255/1948, ordered in 10/1944.

For Iraqi Rly., Standard Gauge, Steam power/vertical boiler, 75 Ton capacity, 4-8-4 with Relieving Bogies wheel arrangement, Ransomes & Rapier, Ipswich, order no. E7614/1940 tested at works 3/1940. It is known that this actually arrived in Iraq (by sea-borne convoy); as spares were later ordered for it.

For Iraqi Rly., Metre Gauge, Steam power/vertical boiler, 25 Ton capacity, 4-8-4 with Relieving Bogies wheel arrangement, Cowans Sheldon, Carlisle, order no. 9255/1948, actually ordered in 10/1944.

For Iraqi Rly., Standard Gauge, Steam power/vertical boiler, 50 ton capacity eight wheel crane with relieving bogies (4-8-4RB). Cowans Sheldon, Carlisle, order no. 9256/1948. Possibly delivered as late as 1956 or 1957, though ordered through Crown Agents as far back as 1948.

It is possible that under the British military regime in the mid 1940s a steam crane, of modest capacity on the metre gauge, may have been delivered to Iraq. I have no specific evidence, but a couple of such crane orders at the end of the Second World War were delivered to uncertain destinations!

However one particular error must be corrected; that is that ex LNER cranes were delivered to Iraq during 1940. This comment, apparently made by John. S. Brownlie in his 1975 privately published book Railway Steam Cranes (p194) is incorrect, as both the ex LNER Cowans Sheldon breakdown cranes requisitioned by the military/MoS in 1940 actually went to Iran/Persia (based at Tehran and Ahwaz), and not to Iraq. A typescript, or type-setters error, I am sure.

[crane]
Batch of 4? Iraqi Republic Railways cranes. Standard gauge, diesel-hydraulic power, 80 Tonne capacity, built by Cowans Sheldon, Carlisle, order no.31197 – 200, 1977.

Diesel Power cranes known to have been delivered.

? batch of 4 nos. ? Iraqi Rep. Rlwys., Standard Gauge, Diesel-Hydraulic power, 80 Ton capacity, 4+/6+6/+4 Relieving Bogie wheel arrangement, Cowans Sheldon, Carlisle, order no.31197 – 200 / 1977. (Des-Cad, Carlisle, have four number postcard size pictures of one of these cranes at CS works.)

? Iraqi Rep. Rlwys., Standard Gauge, Diesel power, 150 Ton capacity, wheel arrangement not certain (probably 6+6W), Mannesman Gottwald-Schienenkrane order no.142018/1988, model type GS 150.66H.

Contractor User Guide mentions There is a large repair facility at [Basra] station with two inspection pits and an 80 Ton rail crane (a relatively modern engine but currently not working).

/p

One thought on “Rail cranes in Iraq

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