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The Hejaz Railway


Description of the station types in the southern section

For strategic and technical reasons; the stations are about 20-30 km apart and offered protection and technical maintenance to the railway. The stations supply the engines with water, but only Tabuk, Medain Saleh, Al Ula and Medinah serve as passenger stations. This does not mean that during stopovers at other stations passengers could not be supplied with water and food.

The stations and their buildings are constructed of solid material from the local environment, such as handcrafted sandstone. Only at the station Tuire
, does the building have a yellow-brown hue which does not reflect the locally available stone. From the next station Waiban onwards, all the stations are built of granite rocks, and therefore appear in a dark gray color.



The stations are of three basic types. Halat Ammar up to Tabuk station, there is only the ground level type formed of a rectangular building with four rooms and a porch with four arcades. Farther south, some ground-level stations were built with six rooms, such as the station El Mu'assam. The rooms serve the railway station officials and maintenance crews. The porch with its arches was meant to give shade for travelers, functioning as a waiting area with sun protection.



The second station type, built from the station Sahr ul Ghul onwards, consists of a square floor plan of 12x12 meters.  These stations are also at ground level, but have a castellated wall, to help ward off the attacks of marauding Bedouins. The floor plan shows an open top courtyard with two to three rooms on each side, and a toilet facility at the back. The front rooms beside the central entrance were provided with a landing halfway up the wall to partly protect the exposed entrance. The entrance was also set back.   The space was provided with arcaded sides and could be controlled through embrasures of the front rooms. Further south, for reasons of security and better view the arcades were completely left off. Inside the courtyard there is always a water cistern that served the staff for potable water, especially in the case of defense.



The third station type, built from the station in Wadi Ethil (Al Uthaily) on, also consists of a square plan, matching the second plan above. However, it has two additional upstairs rooms and a toilet facility. These rooms have an outer window and a door to the canopy. This type was also built on floor plan dimensions of 12x15 meters and contains 3-4 rooms on each side of the ground floor.
All ground floor windows of the stations, as seen in the photos in the
gallery, were part of a restoration of the railway built in the early 1960s, so do not correspond to the original plans.



 As mentioned above, at a few stations, but of course at all stations and workshops such as Tabuk, Medain Saleh, Al Ula and Medina, additional auxiliary constructions were built. These were mostly water towers, wind motors and pump houses, built in the places where they had found sufficient spring or cistern water, since water was the main problem for supply of personnel and trains. The water stations in the southern part of the railway were: Sat ul Hajj, Bir Hirmas, Achdar Alimantasion, El Mu'assam, Medain Saleh, Bedai, Bir Jehid, Hedia, Abu el Na'am, Al Buwair and Hafireh.

The water towers vary in their shape ranging from a round tower with one tank, or oval towers with two tanks. Installed in the ground floor, there was always a steam pumping plant to feed the tanks and, as auxiliary pumps, a windmill to supply from a well.




Mention should also be made of the stations from Akhdar Alimantasion southwards where nameplates in Arabic script with the respective opening dates can be found.

In addition, for defensive reasons during the First World War, the stations still have wall rings on surrounding hills, built of loose rocks to aid defense. These were used for early warning. From the outer ring, troops retreated to the station in case of attack. 

 In parts of the railroad, even the access paths from the wall rings down to the valley side were equipped with protective walls of loose rocks.



Because of the very aggressive Bedouins in the area of Medina, the stations from Muteid up to Hedia  were further protected with additional barracks. These barracks, depending on the size, accommodated 25 to 150 soldiers.