Hijaz Railway Museum, Tabuk

Hijaz Railway Museum, Tabuk:

The once-vast Hijaz Railway was originally designed to speed Muslim pilgrims from Damascus to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina but ended in ruins less than two decades after its start. Its sun-scalded remains can be seen today, cut adrift across northwestern Saudi Arabia in the form of sand-dusted rails, abandoned stations and rusted locomotives.

The railway was created primarily to establish a link between Constantinople and the Hijaz region in Saudi Arabia, home to the holiest sites in Islam, and to shorten the journey of pilgrims performing Hajj. The line, begun in 1900, spanned 1,600km from Syria to Medina by 1908, though its planned final leg to Makkah would never be realized.

During the first world war, sections of the line were attacked by T.E. Lawrence and his allies and by 1918, less than two decades after the project’s beginning, the railway lay in ruins. The track was unofficially abandoned by 1920.

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