The International Steam Pages


Preserved Metre Gauge Steam in Iran

Thomas Kautzor writes (21st January 2011) updating information originally supplied on 29th June 2007.

My Iranian friend, who lives in the U.S., was able to trace two more of the meter gauge Shahr-e-Rey locomotives, and it would in fact appear that all five locomotives from the line have been preserved to this day. First of all, a bit of history: according to Hugh Hughes in “Middle East Railways”, the 5˝ mile / 8.7 km metre gauge line running southwards from Teheran (Horr Square, just south of the present-day railway station) to the Moslem shrine of Shah Abdul Azim el Rey (Shahr-e-Rey) was a Belgian project, operated by the Chemins de Fer et Tramways en Perse (CFTP) and opened in 1887 as the first railway in Persia. Its main purpose was to convey pilgrims to and from the shrine every Friday. The line was closed in 1961 (Iranian sources site 1963) due to road competition and the outdated equipment. There were five 0-6-0T locos, numbered 1 to 5 (Tubize No. 662-665/1887 & 1436/1905), locally called “Mashin Doodi”, meaning smoke machines.

Some historical photos of the railway can be found on the following webpages:

One loco is plinthed at the PARS Wagon factory in Arak (290 km southwest of Teheran): http://www.phantasrail.com/pars_wagon_factory.htm (November 2005).

A second loco was photographed by my friend Arsam Behkish in Mellat Park, north Teheran, in July of 2005, together with an open coach. It still carried a No. 3 and works plate No. 664/1887 on one side and was in very poor condition.

Click for full size image.

A photo of a loco at Mellat Park was published in CRJ 161, p. 123. The loco is on display with an open coach on a short length of track on a walkway at the southern end of the park, close to the modern-designed cinema. Photos on the net include:

At first I thought this was the same engine as the one above, but there are some differences between the two engines, No. 3 was missing both smokebox doors and part of its chimney, while the “new” loco has no number or builder’s plates, but is missing a dome cover on its boiler. Also, there are some differences on the patterns of the rivets on the water tanks, and the open coaches look different as well.

I asked my friend about it, and although he cannot remember the exact location of the loco he photographed, he is positive that it was not anywhere near the cinema south of the park. On the photo of No. 3 you can see some cars through a fence in the background, while the location of the second loco is not anywhere near a road or parking. So there might in fact have been or still be two different locos at Mellat Park.

A fourth loco has been plinthed in Kosar Park in south central Teheran (northeast of the railway station), together with an open coach. It is said that it has been there since 1963. The old people being interviewed are former passengers of the train.

A fifth loco, together with an enclosed coach, is on display outside the Shahr-e-Rey Metro station. It carries bogus No. 1 and builder’s plate No. 665/1887. Photos are to be found at:

At some stage in 2010 it appears to have been placed under cover.


Rob Dickinson

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