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Damascus, 1900... Rumours of a new railway to be built southwards through the desert to the Holy Cities of the Hejaz are running wild... 

Dar al Hamra Station on the Hejaz Railway (Hijaz Railway)
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Hejaz Railway Abu Na'am Station raid in the Arab Revolt during First World War. Lawrence of Arabia with Captain Raho and Sherif Shakir
Hejaz Railway construction, laying of rails and sleepers
Jung locomotive on Hejaz Railway, bridge north of Amman

Map - The Hejaz Railway

Map of the Hejaz Railway (Hijaz Railway)

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  T.E. Lawrence of Arabia at Aqaba in Jordan on the Hejaz Railway in First World War
Hejaz Railway at Al Khour Valley  in AlUla


The railway embankment winds through breathtaking scenery in the Saudi region of AlUla. A world-class tourist destination, rich in archaeological treasures, the area's most iconic attraction is the Hejaz Railway, with its major stations of Hegra (Medain Saleh) & AlUla framed within a unique & spectacular desert landscape.

Muazzam Fort (Muadhdham) Hejaz Railway Darb al Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca & Medina
Hejaz Railway in Yarmuk (Yarmouk) Valley on the Haifa to Dera'a branch

The Branch Lines

The principal branch was built from Deraa in Syria to the port of Haifa, giving the railway a vital outlet to the Mediterranean Sea. For 58 km the track followed the steep, twisting Yarmuk Valley (left), a section that required 15 bridges and 7 tunnels. Other branches included the 40-km  Deraa to Bosra al Sham line.

Royal Flying Corps biplanes in the Hejaz in First World War

Royal Flying Corps

The RFC (the precursor to the Royal Air Force) played an important role in the wartime campaign in Arabia. Its main contribution was in boosting morale among Arab fighters, who had never seen aircraft before. As well as attacks on stations and railway installations, the RFC carried out vital reconnaissance missions.

Medina Station on the Hejaz Railway (Hijaz Railway) at Madinah  in Saudi Arabia

Restoration Projects

In Saudi Arabia, major projects have been carried out to restore Medina, Hegra (Medain Saleh) and Tabuk Stations to their former glory. There are now plans to renovate AlUla Station to house a visitor centre dedicated to the rich history of the railway. There are museums in Jordan (Amman) and Syria (Damascus).

French Captain Rosario Pisani artillery column in 1918 on the Hejaz Railway
Hedia Bridge flood water on the Hejaz Railway (Hijaz Railway) in Saudi Arabia


Bridges needed to be built with sufficient height and strength to withstand flash floods. In the desert, valleys that had been dry for years could suddenly become raging  torrents when rain finally fell. To the left is Hedia Bridge in Saudi Arabia, still standing strong over a hundred years after its construction.

Wagga Fort on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia in First World War

"A herd of sheep and goats issued from the station and moved towards us in charge of a little ragged boy. Before he reached the foot of the hills there came a loud whistling down the valley and a tiny train ground slowly into view across the hollow-sounding bridge and halted in the station, panting out white puffs of steam."

T.E. Lawrence  Seven Pillars of Wisdom - The raid on Abu Na'am Station   March 1917

Book by James Nicholson The Hejaz Railway New edition

New edition available:

 The Hejaz Railway

by James Nicholson

25 Extra Pages. An Additional Chapter.

New Images (archive & modern)

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       Direct:    £27.99  


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AlUla Station on the Hejaz Railway Wind-driven water pump
Heinrich Meissner Pasha German Chief Engineer of Hejaz Railway
Hejaz Railway Medals for Donation Campaign Fund
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