Kuwait – Iraq railway planned

Kuwait’s Arab Times reports, unfortunately without a date,
Italian railway experts due

An Italian technical delegation specialized in railway projects will arrive in Kuwait next week to meet with officials at the Ministry of Communications to discuss ways to link the country’s railway project with the Iraqi railway network, reports Al-Watan. The Italian delegation, which is responsible for operating the Iraqi railway network, will meet with Communications Ministry Undersecretary Eng Abdul Aziz Al-Osaimi and Assistant Undersecretary for Transport Sector Nabeel Al-Tarkeet.

The delegation had earlier visited the country and met with the Transport Sector officials to review the technical figures, statistics and data as a prelude for preparing an integrated technical concept to be referred to the Ministry to discuss the possibility of linking the railway networks in Iraq and Kuwait. Sources said Kuwait’s railway project is still in the evaluation and study phase in preparation for inviting international consultancy offices to provide bids for this major national project.

Club Feroviar has something similar dated 29 November 2007:
Possible rail line between Irak and Kuweit

Next week, an Italian delegation, responsible for the operability of the railway trasnport network in Irak will meet the State Subsecretary of the Communications Ministry in Kuweit, Eng Abdul Aziz Al-Osaimi, to discuss the unification possibilities of railway networks in Irak and Kuweit. The Irakian Transport Ministry’s officials analized the statistics and information given in the process of unification through railway networks of the two countries. This particular project will be handed in to the Minsitry.
The railway line Kuweit project is in the study and evaluation phase, as to announce the participation in tender.

There are currently no “conventional” railways in Kuwait (unless you know differently?), though there is reported to be a railway in the Entertainment City/Al-Madina Al-Tafrihi theme park.

I think this is the theme park:

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It had a Crown Metal Products 3ft gauge 4-4-0 loco, but it seems this was taken to Baghdad during the 1991 conflict. Severn-Lamb Ltd supplied a replacement. This aerial photo appears to show a narrow gauge train in Zarwa park in Baghdad, perhaps the one stolen from Kuwait?

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There has been some talk of building a metro in Kuwait, though this may not be too serious. There have also been rumours of plans to build a freight line between the docks and a US military base, taking trucks off the roads.

Middle East & Caucasus – World Rail Atlas & Historical Summary

Front cover of World Rail Atlas Volume 8

Neil Robinson of World Rail Atlas Ltd has produced a fantastic book, a detailed atlas of pretty much all railways to have existed in the Middle East.

There are colour maps, distances, and tables of opening and closing dates, and chronologies of related political and historical information. This isn’t just about the main lines – it includes some wonderfully obscure military and industrial lines as well.

It’s well worth a look!

  • Sample map and more information on the excellent Trains of Turkey website.
  • Review in Railway Gazette International.

Iran – Pakistan rail link progress

The January 2007 issue of the industry magazine Railway Gazette International has an illustrated article about progress with the construction of a rail link to fill in the gap between Iran and Pakistan. At the moment a Pakistan Railways broad gauge line runs to across the border into Iran as far as Zahedan, but RAI doesn’t yet join up with it from the west.

The article Closing the gap from Bam to Zahedan is written by Dr John Stubbs, who has travelled from London to Mumbai by train (and bus).

The always-useful Seat61 warns Trains run Quetta – Zahedan (Iran) twice a month. However, in October 2006 it’s reported that these trains have been stopped because of repeated bomb attacks. Alternative buses may be available, please check locally.

Mark 1 in Bahrain

Bahrain doesn’t have any railways – unless you know better? – and is not the most obvious place to find an ex-British Rail mark I buffet car. But there is one, and David Kelso took these pictures in March 2003. According to David It is being used as a restaurant. As you would expect I ate in it. The seating area has been left very much as it was but the buffet counter end has been modified as a servery rather than a stand up counter as it originally was.

Does anyone know what sort of MkI it is, or how it got to the middle east – and why?! I guess the strange construction on the end is meant to look like a steam loco.

[An ex-British Railways mark One coach in Bahrain, photographed by David Kelso]

[An ex-British Railways mark One coach in Bahrain, photographed by David Kelso]

Jordan-Syria: a report from the Hedjaz railway

Lawrence of Arabia train faces quiet demise

… a lack of passengers and improved highways may kill off the Hejaz once and for all, a quiet demise for a train that entered popular imagination thanks to Lawrence’s war exploits, later turned into the classic film “Lawrence of Arabia.”

On one recent morning, only four passengers climbed aboard for the Amman-Damascus trip through Jordan’s ochre deserts and Syria’s fertile plains, the railway’s only surviving service.

The 175-km (109 miles) journey takes 2-1/2 half hours by car, but on the Hejaz it can last anywhere from seven to 10, depending on seemingly endless delays at local stations and emergency stops to remove goats and vagrants from the tracks.