The International Steam Pages

More on Surviving Steam Locomotives in Saudi Arabia

This is a follow up to Thomas Kautzor's original article of 20th September 2007.

Following the publication of some pictures on IRFCA website (, Thomas writes further:

Concerning the 2-8-0s, there were three series by Hartmann and one by SLM:

90-96 former 37-43 Hartmann 3039-45/1906
97-106 former 56-65 Hartmann 3457-66/1910
107-111 Hartmann 3542-46/1911-12 (original intended numbers 82-86)
150-159 SLM 2285-94/1912-13 (original intended numbers 97-106)

Both the last Hartmann series and the SLM locos never carried their originally assigned numbers when they were delivered in 1912, after renumbering had taken place. Builder’s lists and photos confirm this.

Concerning technical details, Hughes mentions that the SLM "class was almost identical to the Hartmann series of 1906-11" and Tourret says of the SLM: "These engines were similar in dimensions to the Hartmann 2-8-0s, and were virtually identical except for the leading axle which was a better design on the SLM locomotives". It is also not known why the 10 SLMs were ordered from a foreign firm (the first since the Belgian construction locos), although Bickel speculates that might have had to do with works capacity. If this is the case, they were probably built using the Hartmann plans.

While the SLMs had small rectangular cab windows, a work’s photo of No. 34, latter 50 (Hart. 3036/06) shows an open rounded cab window, and Hartmanns 93 and 106 still have such a cabs today. However all the other Hartmanns I have seen have the same cab windows as the SLMs, so the original cab windows must have been changed for some reason. I found the following cabs in Hartmann pics:

Loco Cab  Location  Year  Source
90 Round works  1906 Tourret p. 51 & 52
90 Rect. El-Hame 2005/7 own
91 Rect. Cadem 1976 Tourret p. 157
91 Rect. Cadem 2005/7 own
93 Round Cadem  2005/7 own
98 Rect. Cadem  1983  Tourret p. 158
99 Rect. Samakh  1924 Tourret p. 87
100 Rect. Ma’an 1942 Tourret p. 102
101 Rect. Al-Buwayr 1977 Noll p. 89 & 104
106 Round Cadem 2005/7 own
107 Rect. Samakh 1942 Hughes p. 78

The following 2-8-0s found themselves on the Southern Section (today’s Saudi Arabia) after WWI and before final closure of the Ma’an – Medina section in 1924:

Hartmann 101, 105, 110, 111
SLM 151, 157, 158

Nos. 101 & 105 had been allocated to CFH (Syria) and were on loan to HR (as well as 111 and Krauss 0-6-0T 17). They both still appear on a CFH loco list dated 3/1944 with mention « Les locomotives 101 et 105 sont louées au Hedjaz Sud », twenty years after the section had ceased to be used (this document might be the source for Tourret).

Apart from the four 2-8-0s at Medina, there are three others left in Saudi Arabia :

Dieter Noll could identify Hartmann 101 at Al Buwayr through stamps on the motion. An article in the Daily Telegraph from December 14, 1961, also confirms it is 101. It stands at the head of a string of goods wagons and does not appear to have suffered from an attack;

Hartmann 110 at Harat Ammar/Hamrat el Hamra could not be found by Dieter Noll, but was identified by Philip Ashforth through stamps on the motion. The loco lies on its side next to the track, probably following T.E. Lawrence’s attack on Sept. 19, 1917;

Dieter Noll identified SLM 151 south of Al Mudarra, although he does not say how. The loco has suffered damage from an attack, including a missing cab.

By elimination, the 2-8-0s at Medina are thought to be Hartmanns 101 & 105 and SLMs 157 and 158 by Noll and Bickel.

In the chapter on Medina, Ahmad von Denffer reports on the following from his visit in January 1986. The numbers between parenthesis are the ones v. Denffer assigned to the locos in the book, but they appear to match those painted on the locos during restoration as can been seen on Ghiath Ramadan’s pictures on the website:

Inside the loco shed a 2-6-0 and two 2-8-0s (facing each other). The 2-6-0 (Loco 1) could be identified as No. 54 by its still present boiler plate (Hartmann 3094/1907). According to a photo in Nicholson, this loco has been cosmetically restored and is displayed inside the shed today.

According to v. Denffer, one of the 2-8-0s carried a Hartmann boiler plate Nr. 3455/1910 (Loco 2), but according to records this was a 4-6-0 delivered to an Argentinean metre gauge railway. The loco is however thought to be a Hartmann by Bickel, while he identifies the second one (Loco 3) as an SLM. One of these locos is the restored "105", while, according to pictures on the IRFCA website, the second has been sectioned for display.

One of the two 2-8-0s outside the shed Bickel identifies as an SLM (Loco 6). The other 2-8-0 (Loco 4), which Bickel identifies as a Hartmann, was lying on its right side in 1986, and carried boiler plate 1910/3466 from Hartmann 106. But Hartmann 106 being in Cadem, according to him there must have been an exchange of boilers. According to the IRFCA website, both these locos remain unrestored outside the shed. A photo in Nicholson shows Loco 4 on display at the head of a long string of unrestored wagons.

There were also four tenders present, dumped behind the shed, including one with a Hartmann 1911 plate and another numbered 159, obviously from an SLM.

The pictures by Ghiath Ramadan on the website, dating from 1999 to 2003, identify the locos as follows : Loco 1 = 54, Loco 2 = 105, Loco 3 = 151, Loco 4 = 111, Loco 6 = 158. According to this website, and that of Gerhard Henrich, it is 151 which is at Medina and 157 which lies destroyed south of Al Mudarra.

I have no idea from where the loco IDs on the website come from. The Nicholson book has a four-page chapter on “Project for the Restoration of Madinah Station”, in which he mentions six locos at Medina (Hart. 2-6-0, Hart. 2-8-0 and SLM 2-8-0 inside, Hart. 2-8-0, SLM 2-8-0 and Tubize 0-6-0T outside). He does not however give Nolte as one of his sources.

In view of the above information, I still have no idea which of the locos was restored as “105”, but it appears to be either Hartmann 105 or SLM 151/157. I also have no idea how they could be distinguished by just looking at the pictures, as both locos seem to have been identical. However, both Syrian drivers Mr. Aziz and Aseeb who have been to Medina confirmed that the restored loco was Hartmann No. 105.

Concerning the 0-6-0T at Medina (Loco 5), v. Denffer found the loco cab-against-cab with Loco 6 in 1986. He also mentions the inscription “DHP 12 K 3.11.04 23/6/09” on the firebox, which he believes to be revision dates. It however gives proof that this is a former DHP loco. He gives the number of the loco as 106, without mentioning on what he bases this information.

Bickel mentions the fact that it would have been nice for it to be either No. 3 (La Meuse) or No. 6 (St.Leonard), but that when comparing photos of those, it is clearly not the case. He however mentions that the loco looks identical to DHP Tubize 101-108. He further refers to a photo of the loco by Dr. Ziad Barazi (in Locomotives International No. 22, 1993, pp. 12-15) which shows what appears to be the “shadow” of the numbers “1”, “0” and “8” on the right side of the cab. DHP 108 however went to CEL (Lebanon) and Bickel explains that by saying that there might have been two 108s or that what appears to be an “8” is in fact a “5” or a “6”.

Noll has a photo of what is thought to be a La Meuse 0-6-0T during construction of the line (p. 34).

The St. Leonard 0-6-0Ts are illustrated in Hughes (TL6 at Samakh, 1942, p. 62), Tourret (TL4 at Beirut, 1945, p. 147).and Noll (TL5 or 6 during construction, p. 107).

The Tubize 0-6-0Ts are illustrated in Hughes (DHP 108 at Beirut, 1948, p. 62) and Tourret (DHP 107 at Beirut, 1945, p. 147).

By comparing these with the photos on, it is clear that the loco at Medina is a former DHP Tubize and not a La Meuse or St. Leonard. Given the above facts, I believe the most likely identity of the loco is DHP 106 (Tubize 877/1893), a loco which together with 101/2/5 had disappeared from the DHP by 1925. Looking at the photos, one can clearly see the location of oval builder’s plate under the number on the cabside and remains of a nameplate at the front of the side-tanks.

Interestingly, a photo in “Hicaz Demiryolu” shows an identical locomotive with a number in the 100-series, the caption reads “A cargo train for construction materials on the Hejaz Railway, 1905”.


Hugh Hughes, “Middle East Railways”, The Continental Railway Circle, 1981

R. Tourret, “Hedjaz Railway”, Tourret Publishing, 1989

Dieter Noll / Benno Bickel / Ahmad v. Denffer, “Die Hedschas-Bahn – Eine deutsche Eisenbahn in der Wüste”, DGEG, 1995

“Hicaz Demiryolu – Fotograf Albümü”, Albaraka Türk, 1999

James Nicholson, “The Hejaz Railway”, Stacey International, 2005

Photos by Ghiath Ramadan on

Photos by Gerhard Henrich on 

Rob Dickinson