The International Steam Pages


A Visit to the Railway Station and Museum
at Madinah, Saudi Arabia 2018

Some years ago, I uploaded some pages on the current state of the south end of the Hedjaz Railway, particularly in Madinah / Medina. My good friend from Penang, Mike Gibby, was able to visit the museum and he has sent me the pictures which are reproduced below. For those interested in the Hedjaz railway as a whole, there are many pictures on this website http://nabataea.net/hejaz.html


It was never intended that Madinah would be the southern terminus of the Hedjaz Railway (I use the spelling adopted by Tourret who wrote the definitive history of the line), it was originally planned to continue on to Mecca and the Red Sea coast at the port of Jeddah. The station, however, was clearly never meant to be a through one as it is built facing west and beyond it is the ancient city centre.

This is the handsome frontage of the original station which now hoses the museum of Madina (https://www.scta.gov.sa/en/Museums/Pages/MuseumDirectory.aspx).

It is totally Islamic in style unlike the other major station on the railway, Kanawat in Damascus, with a fusion of Islamic and colonial styles. It looks very impressive when lit up in the evening:

This is one (reinstated) track leading into the station, the gauge being the unusual 1050mm.

This sunken area has been landscaped, it looks rather large to have once been a turntable.

No platform buildings survive, this view is 'underneath the arches' on the west side of the main building.

In the vicinity are two restored wagons. There are plenty of diagrams in Tourret's boook, so there is no reason to doubt the autheticityof the results.

One less than complete steam locomotive is in the open air, separate from its assumed tender. One piece of equipment survives on it, I suspect it is a (power) steam reverser, the horizontal structure is calibrated 10, 20 ,30 etc..

Beyond the locomotive are two long lines of restored vans. All are equipped with air conditioning but are empty, one can only assume they will be one day to used to house small exhibits and photographic exhibtins.

At the far end of the site is a set of water tanks.

The former workshops now house the actual railway museum. After nearly 100 years of closure - no trains have run on the southern section of the railway since Lawrence sabotaged it - it's perhaps not surprising that little has survived to be displayed. No Christians were allowed south of Elua (340km north of Medina) and few photographs of this part will have been taken in the few years the railway was functional. 

The prime exhibit is this restored steam locomotive, some years ago it was run to and from the station using first Indian and then Syrian drivers. It's true identity is discussed on a separate page on this site, together with a follow up note..

Next to it is a restored passenger coach - the work being done by Muslims from India.

I'd like to thank Mike for taking time out for this visit and the photographs he has sent.


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk