Saddam’s train in 2004

With the personal train of Saddam Hussein back in the news this month, here is an old article about it from the Sunday Times of July 25 2004.

Fat controller Saddam played games with his golden train

Two German-made engines and nine carriages imported from France were reserved for the use of the dictator. The engines have already been incorporated into the rest of Iraq’s limping railway network, but The Sunday Times was able to view some of Saddam’s former carriages in a siding at the Baghdad station.

There were ordinary sleeper compartments for the guards and a saloon and sleeping compartment for Saddam. It had been stripped bare by looters at the end of the war. “Nothing was left,” said Jabar. “Many fine fixtures were stolen.”

Opinion is divided about how often the famously paranoid Saddam boarded the train. There were suggestions that he used it more to confuse his enemies and would-be assassins than than he did for personal travel.

Video of Saddam’s train

The BBC has a short video of the inside of Saddam Hussein’s personal train.

The luxury train belonging to former ruler of Iraq, Saddam Hussein is to return to service.

Since the 1970s, the French-built train has been kept in a secret place in Baghdad.

The 23-carriage train will start to shuttle passengers between Baghdad and the southern city of Basra from September.

The “secret place” where the train was kept was Baghdad Central station, according to a report published in The Times on February 9 2008, alongside Platform 8, long since stripped of their gold and silver fittings.

Saddam Hussein’s luxury train to return to service

This story seems to be all over the web today. Here is the Associated Press version, which many of the reports are taken from:

Saddam’s luxury train to return to service

Iraqi railway officials say Saddam Hussein’s personal luxury train will return to service next month.

Officials say the 23-carriage train will ferry passengers from Baghdad to the southern city of Basra.

Saddam’s luxury train to return to service from Associated Press

The train is described as French-built, with 23 carriages (more than one rake?) and three locomotives.

The locomotives have previously been reported as Thyssen-Henschel/EMD JT22CW locos DEM 2559, 2560 and 2561.

DEM 2561 is the loco on the right in this 2004 photo by Rick Degman.

Back in April 2003 The Times of Oman reported

Saddam’s phantom train is now a sorry sight

Saddam Hussein’s private train, which he never bothered to use, now sits vandalised and looted in a dark railyard in Baghdad’s deserted central station…Saddam preferred to travel by plane for security reasons…Three engines allocated for presidential use and another unit purely to supply electricity, glistening with new green paint, were built in 1984 by the German company Thyssen, as attested by a plaque fixed to their sides…The living quarters – five French-made carriages – comprised a lounge, a dining room, sleeping quarters and a seating area…