Members of the Parliamentary Tourism and Antiquities Committee headed by MP Amjad Al Mosallamani visited on Sunday, February 23, 2014 the Jordan Hejaz Railway Corporation to be briefed on the work procedures and the offered services.
The Committee met with the Corporation’s Director General Salah Al Lawzi in the attendance of Director Assistant Dr. Abdullah Al Malkawi where they tackled the needs of the Corporation and the mechanism to develop it.
Al Lawzi underlined the Corporation’s achievement and its ambitious future plans, stating that it’s one of the oldest public institutions in Jordan and that the railway projects started back in 1900 and was finalized in 1908 with a length that extends to 1303 km where the first trip of the train was launched in the era of Sultan Abdul Hamid from Damascus to Al Madinah Al Munawwarah.
Al Lawzi stressed that the Hejaz steam train has saved time and efforts for pilgrims and travelers noting that the pilgrim used to spend four months in his trip, while with the use of the train, this period became 52 hours only. He indicated that this is a great achievement and a revolution in the road and transport, however, he said that the railway needs maintenance and development to cope with the new age saying that this cost will reach up to 70 million dinars, yet, it will save time, effort and huge expenses on the long run.
He noted that the passengers’ route is being halted because of the surrounding circumstances as it used to transport passengers and tourists to Syria, and that there is an ambitious plan when the current conditions reach to an end to reactivate the route to transport goods mainly the cement and the passengers to Syria.
He added that the route will connect the capital of Amman with the northern and southern areas stating that there is an intention to start train trips that kick off from Al-Zarqa passing through Amman to reach the Queen Alia International Airport, in addition to transporting cereals from the port of Aqaba to grain silos in Amman as well as transporting cement from the nearby factories from the route of the railway to Amman and in the future to Syria.
For his part, Al Mosallamani highlighted the significance of the tourism sector in boosting the national economy and that the Committee is working to activate tourist and transport sectors for the welfare of passengers and tourists especially relating to the use of train since it has a special and distinctive amusement that they will never forget.
He also noted that the Tourism Committee is concerned with the development of the railway’s infrastructure and the construction of the locomotives with Jordanian local man force to become appropriate to the current era mainly that the trains can be operational in all weather conditions and don’t stop.
He added that the Committee recommends supporting this important railway sector as it’s the most appropriate within the current economic conditions underlining the government’s tendency to support it to achieve huge financial savings.