The Hedjaz Railway was built by the Turks, with German assistance, in order to maintain an Ottoman grip on their Arabian empire. Initially the Beirut to Damascus line, started in 1894, was used for the supply of materials for the Hedjaz Railway which itself started in 1900. While promoted as a religious railway, it had military and economic aims as well. It was remarkable for having no debt when completed, as well as for having many miles below sea level.
The Hedjaz Railway is known to many people because of the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia in the First World War, who skilfully raided the line to cause the Turks to defend it but was careful never to completely sever it. In that way, Turkish troops were drawn away from the main battle fronts in Palestine. Details are given of actions and developments in the First World War.
Despite the many books written on Lawrence of Arabia and the Hedjaz railway over the years, there has been little written from the railway side. Indeed, it is believed that this book is the first one to give comprehensive details of locomotives, carriages and wagons. Despite the loss of the official records in Damascus, private sources of official information have been located and used, and this book serves to coordinate this information and to put it on a more permanent basis, as well as make it more widely available.
Hardback with dust jacket, 180 pages. The book contains 143 line drawings and tables, 229 photographs and twelve maps as well as stock lists and a bibliography..
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Updated: 1 April 2020