• Iraqi Republic Railways

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by george matthews
I wonder whether any of the rail system in Iraq has survived the present events there. I travelled by train from Basra to Baghdad when I was there the year before the British-American invasion. The train was quite comfortable, consisting of secondhand French carriages. I have an idea that the whole system has ceased to function since the invasion and the state of chaos that has been "normal" since the Fall of Saddam (at least he kept the trains running from Baghdad to Basra).

I remember seeing some TV pictures of a train since then, with broken windows. I suspect there will be no proper service until the state has been settled (or a series of smaller states).
  by johnthefireman
A few snippets on Iraqi railways which I have posted earlier on the Friends of the Rail Forum. Of course they don't answer your question as to how the railways have fared during the most recent crisis.

Iraqi Republic Railways commissions control system (August 2012)

Iraqi Republic Railways orders Chinese DMUs (December 2012)

Alstom signs Baghdad urban rail contract (February 2013)
  by Gilbert B Norman
It appears that The New York Times has answered Mr. Matthews inquiry today with this lead International article regarding present day Iraq travel during the ISIS/L insurgency. With new equipment, including Sleeping, Dining, and Lounge service, it appears "almost Amtrak":

October 19; New York Times

Brief passage:
BAGHDAD — Saad al-Tammimi is in his fourth decade working for Iraq’s railroads, a career that has taken him all around his country, and around the Middle East. Nowadays, though, he can go only from Baghdad to Basra, across the relatively calm Shiite-dominated south of this war-torn country.

“If we have a problem and have to stop, it’s safe,” he said on a recent evening as he drove his regular route. “Even the Sunnis feel comfortable going to Basra.”

With so much violence, neglect and political dysfunction here, it has been years since passenger trains leaving Baghdad went anywhere other than Basra. In recent years, however, grand ambitions to link the country by railroad had begun taking shape. Freight trains shuttled goods around Iraq, and a few years ago there were test runs of a new train service between Mosul and Turkey. But as the militants of the Islamic State have advanced around the country, those efforts have halted.

At least Mr. Tammimi has a new train to drive, a sleek and shiny one built in China that glides out of the station at dusk and through the closed-in thicket of this city. It almost kisses the storefront awnings and low-slung homes that line the track as it moves past waving families, boys playing soccer and trash being burned, before reaching the rural south, past endless rows of date palms, on an overnight journey to Basra.
It appears that Iraqi Railways intends to maintain, and someday expand, passenger service; note the new equipment reported within the article. However, the current insurgency obviously must be addressed before any such plans move further.

Do the photos within the Slide Show look much different than does an Amtrak Lounge Car?

A final note: Saddam's private train; could it someday become a "luxotrain"?
  by philipmartin
"The project was sponsored by the US government" I was wondering where my tax dollars go.
  by David Benton
Mr Norman's "trains" Magazine searching skills may be better than mine, I recall an article, perhaps one year after the war ended, regarding a Iraqi rail worker ( station manager or engineer), who came to the USA to learn about running the railway in Iraq.
I am wondering if it was Mr Saad al-Tammimi ?.
  by johnthefireman
There's a story about plans for a light rail network in Basra at http://www.meed.com/sectors/transport/r ... 93.article?" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, but you have to subscribe to read it so I don't know what it says.
  by gokeefe
Service to Fallujah has been restored.
  by gokeefe
Iraqi Republic Railways website for those who may be interested.
  by george matthews
Service to Fallujah has been restored.
The current state of things in Iraq is not likely to see the whole system return to service - at least not soon. It would only be safe to offer a passenger service if there was a reasonable state of peace. In fact there is no peace in all the Arab states from the Lebanon to Iraq, and especially in Syria. There may be some peace on the line mentioned here. Horrible though Saddam Hussein was, he at least made enough terrorised peace to allow some of the railway to run. None of his successors have been strong enough to do that.
  by Gilbert B Norman
I guess as places go in this world today, Iraq seems reasonably stable. Here is a travelogue of Americans taking an overnight train from Baghdad to Basra: