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Jeda'a Station on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia


GPS:   25.378504, 38.814798

           25°22'42.66"N 38°48'53.28"E


Distance to next station south (Abu Na'am): 18 km

Distance north to Wagga Outpost Fort: 11 km

Distance to next station north (Hedia): 22 km

Altitude:  449 m

Jeda'a Station on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia

Due to the arid terrain, supplies of fresh water had to be delivered to Jeda'a from neighbouring stations 

Jeda'a Station Hejaz Railway Saudi Arabia

The black stone of the station at Jeda'a stands out vividly against the drifting sands of the valley floor

Jeda'a Station name plaque on Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia

Two-storey black basalt stone station building.

The sand under the front entrance has been eroded, exposing the foundations.

There were no water resources at the station. The garrison was dependent on deliveries from neighbouring stops.

Ruined remains of small barracks block.

Square metal water tank.

Ruined remains of other minor structures.

Items of damaged rolling stock scattered around the site.

During the war, the station was equipped with a searchlight.

A wireless signal post situated on a hill to the west of the station was a vital link in the railway’s defences. From the top, it was possible to monitor Wadi Hamdh and observe any movements into Wadi Ais. Wagga Outpost Fort (to the north) and the two stations of Hedia (to the north) and Abu Na’am (to the south) were informed of any danger by telegraph, while the Wadi Hamdh Bridge defence post (11.5 km. to the south) was warned by means of a flag-waving system.

Jeda'a Station Hejaz Railway Saudi Arabia

Owing to the barren nature of the environment, attacks on Jeda'a Station and the surrounding line were rare, as the raiding parties needed to carry their own supplies of water as well as forage for their camels

On 11 August 1917, Bimbashi (Major in the Egyptian Army) Herbert Garland moved northwards from Istabl Antar with an Arab raiding party and approached the line to the south of Jeda'a Station. Approximately 880 charges were laid along the track, but Garland estimated the number of rails destroyed at only about 800, owing to defective gun cutton and faulty fuses. While the charges on the rails were being detonated, the station at Jeda'a turned a powerful searchlight on the raiders. However, the Turkish defence force did not emerge from the safety of the stone buildings to engage them. A section of the telegraph line was also destroyed during the raid.

Jeda'a Station Hejaz Railway Saudi Arabia

During the war, Jeda'a Station was equipped with a powerful searchlight

Jeda'a Station Hejaz Railway Saudi Arabia

Erosion and damage caused by treasure hunters have resulted in the foundations at the front of Jeda'a Station becoming exposed

Major Herbert Garland, demolitions expert on the Hejaz Railway in the Arab Revolt during the First World War

Demolitions expert Major Herbert Garland carried out two raids on the line at Jeda'a

On 14 August, Garland and the same raiding party, with 50 extra Bedouin, carried out another attack on the railway between Jeda'a and Hedia. The group made their way quietly on foot over hills of drift sand, each carrying 24 lbs of gun-cotton, before entering Wadi Hamdh. Tribesmen were positioned on the flanks to secure a section of line seven kilometres long. At the northern end of the stretch, Garland approached a four-arch bridge. When he was fifty metres away, a defensive Turkish force, concealed behind the brickwork, opened fire. The raiders turned and sprinted over soft sand. Garland fell after only 75 metres, but was helped to safety by an Arab soldier. The Bedouin opened fire and forced the Turkish troops to withdraw, enabling the demolition teams to return and demolish the bridge and 700 rails. Garland reported: 'If the Turks had waited a few minutes more before opening fire, with their first salvo they could have knocked us over as easily as ninepins, but fortunately they fired before they could discern us properly in the darkness.'

Jeda'a Station on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia

The remains of stone defence posts between the station and the mountains overlooking the valley

Jeda'a Station on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia

Jeda'a Station long ago abandoned by the resolute Ottoman garrison to a sea of sand

Strikes against Jeda'a Station and the line in the surrounding area were difficult to organise, as the raiding parties had to carry their own supplies of water as well as forage for their camels. On 28 August 1917, a force under the French Captain Raho blew up four kms. of track in the vicinity of Jeda'a. On 19 November, two Arab raiding parties converged on the line close to the station. One group, under the Anaiza chief Farhan al Aida, approached from the east, while the other, under Sherif Shakir, advanced from the west. In the raid, 550 rails and two culverts were destroyed. 

On 12 March 1918, Major W. Davenport, reported that Sherif Abdullah ibn Thawab, 'the best of the Bedouin commanders', carried out a successful attack on Jeda'a Station, capturing several prisoners and camels. Five days later, under cover of a sandstorm, ibn Thawab surprised a company of Turkish Camel Corps in the vicinity of Jeda'a, killing 30 men and taking 55 camels.

The following month, another Arab force under Abdullah ibn Thawab ambushed two Turkish patrols, one from Jeda'a and the other from Wagga Fort, at the point where they met, killing ten men and taking five prisoner.

Jeda'a Station barracks on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia

The ruined remains of the barracks block

Jeda'a Station on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia

The name plaque on the main station building at Jeda'a Station shows that it was built in 1911 (1329 AH), four years after the track was laid, illustrating the difficult nature of construction in such a desolate place

Jeda'a Station and Wadi Hamdh on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia

Cast adrift in a harsh barren wilderness, Jeda'a Station served neither human habitation nor commercial interest. Its primary role was its strategic importance, commanding the railway's entry into Wadi Hamdh - seen behind the mountain on the right

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