WORLD WAR 1
In the years running up to the First World War, pressure mounted on Sherif Hussein, the Amir of Mecca, to cooperate with the Young Turks on the extension of the railway to his power base in the Holy City. In 1914 Turkey entered the war on the side of Germany, but Hussein, aware that the Turks would remove him from power if victorious, opened up negotiations with the British in Cairo, and in June 1916 declared the Arab Revolt. In the early stages of the uprising, most of the Hejaz fell to the Arab forces, but Medina and the towns and stations along the railway remained in Turkish hands. The Ottoman commander, Fakhri Pasha, counter-attacked from Medina, and with Mecca and the towns on the Red Sea coast threatened, and the Arab Revolt close to collapse, the British started to send money, arms and a few men to support the uprising.
Use the links below to follow the course of the war along the Hejaz Railway, starting with the earliest attacks on stations near Medina and culminating with the capture of Damascus, the capital of Syria and the northern terminus of the line.