A map from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection of the General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin. I’ve highlighted the approximate course of the railways I know about. Don’t plan your trainspotting holiday based on it, though!
Large version of map.
The detailed map of the Iraqi railway network (PDF, 713KB) from the United Nations Joint Logistsics Centre (used with permission).
- There are lots of maps of Iraq at the General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin, website, including one of Baghdad in 1944, showing railways and a train ferry, and one showing
railway routes, as does this
- The UIC’s
middle east railways website doesn’t have much you can read without
being a member, but there is a map of IRR
- A satellite photograph showing Baghdad Central station
- Karte der Bagdadbahn (1915)
- Some more maps of Iraq.
The main rail network is also visualized but stays on purpose a bit in the background. Hopefully we can add more data about more detailed rail network, airports and harbors to this section soon.
These are the lines which still (more or less) exist. There was formerly an extensive metre gauge network, which seems to have lasted until circa 1988(?) The standard gauge lines are not always on the same alignment as earlier metre-gauge routes.
Obviously transliterations of Arabic place names vary between sources, so the names mentioned might not be consistent.
|Yurubiyah [El Yaroubieh] (on the Syrian border, on the route to Turkey) – Mosul [Al Mawsil] – Qayyarah – Baiji – Tikrit – Samarra – Baghdad||528
|in stages 1939, 1940|
|Baghdad – Al Musayyib – Al Hillah – As Samawah – An Nasiriyah (for Ur, possible 30 km branch to Kut) – Al Basrah||541 km||1964-03-10 (freight)
1968-04-25 (passenger) Replaced earlier metre gauge line, not same route
|Basra – Umm Qasr||68 km||1968-04-25|
|Baghdad – Al fallujah – Habbaniya – Al Ramadi East – Hit – Haqlaniyah – Anah – Al-Qaim – Qusaybah [Husaiba] (on the Syrian border at Abu Kamai)||516
km (376 in Cook’s, 404 RGI p892 Nov 1982)
|al-Qaim – Askashat (carries phosphates to Al-Qaim)||Summer 1981 (RGI Feb 1982/p638)|
|Haditha – Baiji – Kirkuk
(Baiji oil refinery to al-Qaim fertiliser plant)
|252 km||1988, $960m|
|Ur – Nasiriyah?||Possible branch?|
|Kirkuk – Arbil [Irbil]||?|
|Baghdad ring line||112km, 11km link to Central station||Proposed|
|Baghdad – Ba’qubah – (Khanaqin) – Tawuq – Kirkuk||A former metre gauge line, never rebuilt as standard|
A correspondent writes (I’ll incorporate this in the table when I get time!):
In Haqlaniyah the line joins the Baghdad-Al Qaim (-Abu Kamal) line (a.k.a
BAARP – Baghdad – Al Qaim – Akashat – Railway Project). The village of
Haditha was originally intended to be the junction with KBH, but then the
design of the BAARP was changed to stop in Haqlaniyah rather than in
Haditha, without changing the name of KBH, however.
The additional km of the KBH is owing to a rerouting of the Mosul – Baghdad
line, which was shifted from the Al Siniyah Station to the new KBH-Baiji
Further few km are east of Baiji – a siding to the Salahuddin Refinery tanker storage yard and a siding to the Baiji Vegetable Oil factory near to the Tigris river. The refinery was destroyed in the 1991 Gulf War by UN Troops. Whether or not is had been restored since, is beyond my knowledge.
This is why you may have found in some sources 292 km rather than 252 km.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Baiji on February 8 1983. Ceremonial
inauguration of the KBH in the presence of the then Minister of Communication Mr Mohammed Hamza Al Zubaidi on November 7 1987 (not 1988).
Baghdad-Baquba-Kirkuk railway line. This line was taken out of service in 1987, because by opening the KBH-line Kirkuk was reached faster by using the new connection via Baiji.
- Map of the port at Um Qasr, showing the railways, where UNJLC says
rail transport is used on regular bases to transport containers to the northern part of the country and experts will do a more complete study of the rail capacities.
- A UNJLC photograph of warehouses and rail connection in Um Qasr.
- A photo of a train at Um Qasr from the UNJLC.
Railway Directory 2001 has this to say about Iraqi Republic Railways:
“Railway construction in Iraq was begun in 1912 as part of the
projected Berlin – Istanbul – Baghdad Railway. The line between
Baghdad and Hsaiba on the Syrian border was compled in 1983, and the
Haditha – Kirkuk line opened in 1987.”
Traffic – information for the year 1997
Passenger 2.8m journeys
1 169m passenger-km
Freight 2.9m tonnes freight, 956m tonne-km
Route and Rolling Stock
Gauge 1 435 mm – 2 032 km
Diesel locomotives 382
Passenger coaches 434
Freight wagons 12 445
Employees 8 300
This is what the CIA World Fact Book has to say about Iraq’s railways:
total: 2 339 km
standard gauge: 2 339 km 1.435 m gauge (2001)