21 December 2021

Hijaz Railway – Tabuk

In the late 19th century, Sultan Abdulhamid II ordered the construction of a railway from Damascus to Mecca. Known as the Hijaz Railway, construction began in 1900 and made pilgrims journeys easier whilst significantly reducing their travelling time. Madain Saleh and Al Ula were the final point to which non-Muslims could travel. Construction was interrupted due to the outbreak of World War I, and it reached no further than Medina, 400 kilometres short of Mecca. The completed Damascus to Medina section was 1,300 kilometres long. 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.