Establishment, Development and Features of Railway Transport
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Historic Brief

The Hejaz Railway is considered one of the traditional monuments that is associated with the history of modern Jordan as it is coupled with the Great Arab Revolt, in addition to the fact that one of the Hejaz Railway buildings in the City of Maan had the honor to be the headquarters of the late HM King Abdullah I bin Al-Hussein, may God rest his soul, and the Railway had also the honor to use one of its trains for the trip of His Majesty from Maan to Amman.
 

In addition, the trips of pilgrims using camels from Damascus to the Al Madinah Al Munawwarah and Mecca Al Mukarramah used to last for (40-50) days, during which they used to be exposed to different risks namely the attacks of highway robbers, torrents and epidemics in addition to the hardship of long travel which induced Sultan Abdul Hamid to consider establishing a railway that connects Damascus with the Al Madinah Al Munawwarah and Mecca Al Mukarramah.

 

In September 1900, Sultan Abdul Hamid appealed to all Muslims all around the world to collect donations for the establishment of a railway that connects Damascus with the Holy Places to facilitate the transport of pilgrims. This appeal received a great deal of enthusiasm and support from all Muslims. 

The cost of the project was estimated at around 5 million Ottoman gold dinars that were collected from donations contributed by the people and the revenues of the Ottoman State by selling stamps and its investment in Phosphate near the city of Salt and the mineral water at the Al-Hemma area. In addition, the Ottoman government imposed a special tax for the railway on all citizens. It’s worth noting that a number of factors have contributed to lowering the cost of the project including the assistance of the military forces and volunteers from the citizens in the constructions and benefiting from the donated materials in the railway’s neighboring areas.  

 

The project encountered many hardships namely the attacks of Bedouins in the southern areas who opposed the project, in addition, the workers suffered from high weather temperatures, the lack of nearby water resources due to the desert nature of the region, the diseases that infected workers and the difficulty to transport materials to work areas.

 

Work started in establishing a narrow railway (105 cm) in an axial weight (10.5 tons), to one of its sides, a wired telecommunication line that connects Damascus with Al Madinah Al Munawwarah through the city of Amman in a length that was extended to (1303 km). Work in the project ended in 1908, therefore, the year 1909 witnessed a new era in the transport of pilgrims and travelers that is far away from diseases and hardships where (147478) passengers were transported.

 

Several administrations have succeeded in the operation of the railway starting with the Turkish management since 1900, i.e., since the inception of the railway and lasted till 1917 and was followed by the government of the British Mandate for Palestine represented by the administration of Palestine Railways until 1948, and then the administration of the Arab Jordanian Armed Forces since 1948 until 1950, followed by the civil Jordanian administration from 1950 till 1952. In 1952, the Jordan-Hejaz Railway Corporation was established and it manages and invests in the properties of the railway within the Jordanian territories since that date up till present.