Hadiyah Railway Station
Once a major stop on the Hejaz Railway, this desert station (complete with steam locomotive) has been abandoned for decades.
The site marked on most maps as Hejaz Railway Trains refers specifically to the Hadiyah Railway Station, where trains along the Hejaz Railway used to stop. The site consists of three structures: a larger building that accommodated up to 25 railway workers, a smaller one that accommodated up to 15 workers, and a double-tank water tower located between these two buildings. About 100 meters to the south of the station are four freight wagons standing on railway tracks and one lying on its side. Although the railway tracks have been removed, the track ballast is still recognizable. About 100 meters to the east of these buildings is a Krauss 0-6-0T steam locomotive lying on its side with five freight wagons attached. The train was pushed over by people that collected railway tracks for scrap metal.
The Hejaz Railway was built between 1900 and 1908. It connected Damascus to Medina, and was ostensibly built to serve pilgrims visiting places of worship in Saudi Arabia. It was, in fact, planned that the network would eventually reach the holy city of Mecca, but the construction came to a halt due to the onset of World War I, and the railway never extended beyond Medina. There was, however, a more strategic reason for constructing this railway route, which was to extend the control of the Ottoman Empire over the Arabian Peninsula in general and the holy sites of Islam in particular.
Towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, Arab rebels carried out a number of attacks against the railway as a way to destabilize the empire and gain independence. The name of Lawrence of Arabia is linked to these attacks. Trains continued operating along the Hejaz Railway until the demise of the Ottoman Empire in 1920. Though interest in the railway reignited in the 1960s, the trains never became operational again.
The Hejaz Railway stations in Tabuk and Medina are well preserved and worth a visit, but the Hadiyah Railway Station has a completely different atmosphere due to the fact that it is lies abandoned in the middle of nowhere.
Know Before You Go
There is no public transport coming anywhere near this railway station. It is not necessary to have a 4x4 vehicle, but once one leaves the main road behind, there are no settlements for kilometers, and few (if any) other vehicles can be seen on the road. It is, therefore, advisable to use reliable vehicles to visit this site.
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