• Middle East Passenger Trains

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by Gilbert B Norman
I only learned today that the Iranian Railways have established a separate entity to operate passenger trains. For that matter, I was not completely certain to what extent Iran even had passenger trains.

This site is in English, and I believe it is worth a review:

Other Middle East passenger operatons coming to mind (additions and corrections encouraged):

Afganistan; None (only 12 miles of railroads)
Iraq; Passenger service over various routes; link.
Israel: Commuter and intercity service
Jordan: ????????? (licensed pilot King Hussein and, daughter of Pan Am exec Queen Noor, were of one mind; and it wasn't a "one track" mind)
Kuwait; None (no railroads)
Lebanon; Commuter service form Beiruit
Saudi Arabia: Freight service only. Other Arabian peninsula emirates: None
Syria: ?????????
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Mon May 17, 2004 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by EastCleveland
Don't forget Egypt -- technically a North African country, but certainly worth adding to the list.

I traveled on several Egyptian trains about a decade ago. They run the full length of the country -- from Alexandria to Cairo, and then south to Luxor and Aswan.

At the time, comfort-wise, the First Class coaches were roughly equivalent to an Amtrak short-haul Amfleet I. The Second Class coaches were similar to a bare-bones Horizon.

As for Third Class. . . . I didn't need to experience it first hand. Peering from the platform into one of the Egyptians' gloomy, dank, and dangerously crowded "cattle" cars was more than scary enough.

I also did a roundtrip between Cairo and Aswan on an overnight sleeper train. At the time, the cars in service were clearly based an American 10/6. Dinner and breakfast were included. . . . served on a tray in our room as we headed south along the Nile.

(We definitely got the feeling were weren't in Kansas anymore when we raised the window shade the next morning, just as the train was rolling past a dusty camel market with 3000 year-old ruins as a backdrop)

On the return trip from Luxor to Cairo, however, we were quietly pre-warned to avoid our meals like the proverbial plague.

It seems that the railroad liked to prepare them in Cairo on the previous day, and send them south aboard the overnight train to Luxor. There, our future dinners had sat all day in a sun-baked railyard, with no refrigeration, before they were proudly served to us as we rolled north later that night.

Last edited by EastCleveland on Mon May 17, 2004 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by David Benton
Closest ive been is Turkey . I wanted to travel overland through Iran to India , but they wouldnt even accept my passport to apply for an Iranian visa . ( very sorry , too old and too many stamps in it ??? ). Still very hospitable people , and it was an Iranian who escorted me across Ankara late at night , to catch a train that had already gone , then went to great lenghts to find me a seat on a bus that night . buses seem to be the preferred mode of transport in turkey , the trains i think suffering form the competition .
Have also travelled in Morrocco , Algeria , and Tunisa , but i guess they are North African countries , but with a Middle east flavour .
Of interest was Algeria , theyve got oil coming out thier ears , but they were then ( about 15 years ago ) ,doing a major upgrade of the rail network , the other 2 countries also had modern rolling stock of french origin .

  by walt
There is a good episode of PBS's "Great Railway Journies" which is a very humorous description of a trip from Syria into Jordan (to Aman, I think). I think the program was originally aired in the late 1980's or early 1990's, so I don't know if that trip can be made to day, but it is a very interesting program. There is one portion where a train hauled by an old oil fired steam engine derails ( I think this was in Jordan) because the rail was so old that it simply fell over under the weight of the engine.

  by David Benton
nice photos of some lovely kids .
In other photos in the series , the carriages appear to be french corail stock (late 19070's - 1980's ? ) , with extra large air con units stuck on the end . Obviously not working by the temperatures shown .

  by Ron Newman
Besides conventional railroads, Cairo also has a subway.

  by someone
you can find pic's of railways in mideast and turkey (and entire europe) on that website:


i really can recommend that website