King Amanullah crossing the Polish-Soviet border

Border between between Poland and the USSR decorated with a banner saying Hello Shah of Afghanistan
The border between between Poland and the USSR decorated with a banner saying “Hello Shah of Afghanistan” when King Amanullah of Afghanistan passed through by train on his way between Warsaw and Moscow on 2 May 1928.

1922 railway map of Poland

1922 railway map of Poland from

Amanullah left Warsaw1 by train on the morning of Wednesday 2 May 1928.

Białystok station was decorated with Polish and Afghan flags. The visit of an exotic guest attracted people to the station, but the police only allowed people with special passes on to the platform. Representatives of administrative and military authorities, social organizations and the press started arriving at the station at noon.

King Amanullah at Białystok

The train arrived on time 12.50, as a military band played the Afghan national anthem. Amanullah appeared at the window in civilian clothes, when General Sosnkowski and Colonel Wieniawa-Długoszewski alighted onto the platform. Local dignatiories boarded, and Deputy Voivode Skrzyński entered the coach and welcomed the king in French; he answered in his own language, expressing thanks for their best wishes and admiration for the Polish army.2

The train then continuted to the Polish border town of Stołpce (now Stowbtsy in Belarus), where Amanullah changed to a Soviet train and was due to enter the Soviet Union at 20.00. The Times reported that the wooden arch spanning the tracks a yard inside the Soviet border had been specially decorated,3 as seen in the photograph.

There were further speeches, guards of honour and anthems at Negoreloye and Minsk.

Amanullah arrived in Moscow on the morning of Thursday 3 May 1928, and went to a villa belonging to the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs where he was to be accomodated. The King then visited Mikhail Kalinin and others, Lenin’s mausoleum and an official reception given by Kalinin.4

  1. Polish illustrated news coverage of Amanullah’s visit to Poland
  2. Król Afganistanu w Białymstoku, Włodzimierz Jarmolik, Kurier Poranny, 20 Febraury 2010
  3. “King Amanullah Leaves For Moscow.” Times, London, England, 3 May 1928: 16. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 9 March 2016.
  4. “Afghan Royal Visit To Russia.” Times, London, England, 4 May 1928: 16. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 9 March 2016.

King Amanullah at Croydon airport

Film of King Amanullah of Afghanistan’s 1928 visit to Croydon airport.

King Amanullah, Afghanistan’s reforming pro-Western ruler, gets a good look around Croydon Airport in this film, which shows the monarch inspecting buildings and airplanes, including one with folding wings that’s stored in a portable hanger. He also received some mail, written in Persian, dropped by parachute, and noses around a control tower. The king looks interested throughout, and is accompanied by a number of local dignitaries.

King Amanullah and a Pullman car

This photo appeared on a King Amanullah fan group on Facebook. I am not sure where the location is, but it could be during his trip to Portland to see a naval demonstration on Tuesday 3 April 1928.

King Amanullah travelled from London Waterloo to Portland on a special train comprising Pullman cars hauled by Southern Railway steam locomotive number 850 Lord Nelson. Because this locomotive was unable to travel on the Portland branch, two ex-London & South Western Railway Class O2 locomotives hauled the train from Weymouth to Portland where a special platform had been built near the Camber jetty for the king to disembark.1 The platform was dismantled after the visit.

After inspecting a guard of honour, the King was taken to on the Admiral’s barge to the flagship HMS Nelson.2

Euston station master’s Afghan order


Tens of thousands of railway passengers will miss the short, stout, cheery-faced figure of Mr T. P. Wenlock, station master at Euston who is retiring after 45 years’ service with the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. […] He has been decorated personally by the King with the M.B.E., presented with a diamond tie pin by the Prince of Wales, received the order of the House of Orange from the Queen of Holland, and given an order by ex-King Amanullah when he visited this country.

Source: Northern Daily Mail, 30 September 1930

King Amanullah on the Southern Railway

Silent film from 1928.

Our Royal Guests – Britain welcomes Amanullah, King of Afghanistan and Souriya, his beautiful Queen

Dover, Kent and London.


The King and Queen walk beside a train on a railway platform at Dover with their entourage and are greeted by men in white wigs; one reads to them from a book – presumably some kind of traditional greeting; the book is handed to the King, the Queen is given a bunch of flowers.

At a London railway station (probably Victoria) we see the royal party getting off the train and being greeted by King George V and Queen Mary; they are all seen shaking hands with various military dignitaries. The two Kings walk past a line of guards in busbys outside the station then get into an open carriage under a canopy of international flags outside the station; the two Queens can be made out in the background getting into their open carriage.


Amanullah-Wagen trains mentioned by German President

The President of Germany, Christian Wulff, mentioned the Berlin U-Bahn’s Amanullah-Wagen trains during a speech in Kabul on 16 October 2011.

Deutsche und Afghanen hat es schon immer zueinander gezogen. Bereits in der ersten Hälfte des vergangenen Jahrhunderts arbeiteten deutsche Ingenieure in Afghanistan, lernten Afghanen an der Amani-Schule in Kabul Deutsch. Der Besuch von König Amanullah 1928 in Berlin wurde von den Deutschen mit großer Begeisterung aufgenommen. Noch heute nennen die Berliner den U-Bahn-Zug, mit dem er damals durch Berlin fuhr „Amanullah“. Er war bis 1989 in Betrieb und Sie können das letzte Exemplar bei Ihrem nächsten Besuch in Berlin im Museum bewundern. Und in einigen Jahren wird vielleicht der Zeitpunkt kommen, gemeinsam einen neuen Zug zu benennen.

Source:Mittagessen auf Einladung von Präsident Karsai anlässlich des Staatsbesuchs in Afghanistan, Kabul, 16 October 2011

“How my grandma saw King Amanullah”

In the third and final part of a little series, Thomas Ruttig takes you on a journey in G.H. Wells’ time machine, back to Berlin in the year 1928 when Afghan King Amanullah visited the German capital as first head of state after the end of Kaiser Wilhelm’s monarchy. Read how the King drove the Berlin ‘tube’, what he got as a present of honour and how the Berliners made ‘Ullemulle’ – and I am sure this nickname was meant to be friendly – their King of Hearts.
Source: Afghan Encounters in Europe or: How My Grandma Saw King Amanullah

King Amanullah on the presidential train

Amir’s Progress

The Presidential Train of Old Paul von Hindenburg rolled into Berlin, last week, with its heating apparatus most unfortunately not functioning. The honored passengers were Their Majesties the Amir & Queen of Afghanistan who, with almost their entire suite, appeared to be suffering from colds.


Source: Time, 1928-03-05