The International Steam Pages

Steam in Jordan and Syria, May 2004

Roland Beier's report from May 2004 follows this October 2004 update.

The Railway Touring Company trip from 1st to 11th October led by Ray Mason found:


23, 71, 82 working , all driven hard and fast by the new young driver. A new steam service is planned from Aquaba to serve Wadi Rum with trial running shortly. An exceptional area! STEAM used on international freight for a whole week during the late summer.


A station master told Ray that "steam was used on 25 occasions in September 04 on the Dera - Damascus freight" (If no diesel loco available for the Damascus - Amman train, a coach is substituted.)

On the main system the tour used 91, 160, 260, 262 and 962 (a fantastic loco, worth a visit to Syria for!) plus 66 shunting at Dera. 

90 used on El Hami - Fije plus the De Dion railcar. The El Hami - Fije section of the Beirut line has 751, 754, 755 and 90 based at El Hami with 6 four wheel coaches and no diesels for the stub to Fije. 754 was in light steam, spare for 90. The aim is to connect back with Cadem (not Kanawat) but it'll take a long time and can hardly be a priority, clear landslides and re-open to Rayek (Reyak?). Don't hold your breath, but it doesn't sound like closure.
Obviously Cadem is the main station for both gauges and may remain so as Kanawat is developed for a metro. The plinthed loco at Kanawat is still there. The De Dion Railcar worked and was fantastic. The usual locos were in Cadem works.

Roland Beier reports on a group visit to Syria and Jordan which had been organised by Alfons Stettner from Austria in May 2004.


The lines from Damascus Hedjazi station to Cadem and to El Hami on the Serghaya line are now out of use have even been lifted on some sections. So there is no more street running in Damascus. The reason is the construction of a standard gauge link from Cadem to Hedjazi station which will be built underground. The platforms at Hedjazi have been lifted and a new station which includes a shopping mall is to be built. The old station building remains in situ.

Serghaya branch is operational only between El Hami and Deir Kanoun. Beyond Deir Kanoun the line is still blocked by a landslip. Locos 90 and 755 are outbased at El Hami for occasional tourist trains.

755 + 90 on the Serghaya line

On the main line from Cadem to Deraa we had several special trains with locos 91, 260 and 262.

262 near Ghazala

Deraa shed still has 66 in kind of working condition. This loco was in steam but could hardly move itself. Mallet 962 was in steam at Deraa and took us into the Yramuk gorge together with 160. Most of the work was done by 160 but 962 managed some runpasts with three coaches on its own. 160 was also used for a journey down the line to Bosra.

66, 91, 160 and 262 line up at Deraa station

962 in the Yarmuk gorge

Regular steam workings are still possible on the main line Damascus-Deraa as usually only one diesel loco is available for the twice weekly passenger train and freight trains which operate several times a week. If the diesel fails steam locos 160, 260 or 262 appear as a replacement, according to staff this is the case about once a month.


The four serviceable steam locos (23, 51, 71 and 82) were all in steam during our visit. 23 and 71 doubleheaded a train from Amman to Jizra, we did not continue to Quatrana because of a heavy sand storm but did the town section at Amman instead. The next day 51 was used on the section between Amman and Quasir whilst 82 did a journey from Amman to Ruseifa in the afternoon. Steam locos in Jordan are for tourist trains only. 23 and 82 were not in the best of condition whilst 51 and 71 performed well.

23+71 at Amman

51 at Amman

82 at Ruseifa

Rob Dickinson