This was an excellent five days of special trains which covered all the available track in Jordan - much of which has no regular service of any kind, passenger or freight. It was organised by Iain Scotchman on behalf of the Branch Line Society (BLS), supported by the Locomotive Club of Great Britain (LCGB).
Of course many thanks go to Jordan Hejaz Railway (JHR), Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC), Aqaba Port Authority and our Jordanian travel agents United Travel Agents of Amman.
For a map of the route and an alternative report please see the BLS website Fixture Report.

The Hejaz Railway was built to alleviate the suffering of the Hajj pilgrims en route to Mecca, avoiding 40 days of trekking through desert wilderness. It opened in stages from Damascus (1901) reaching Medina in 1908, never reaching the intended destination of Mecca. It closed in the mid 1920s but was reinstated in part in the 1950s. The connecting railway to the Red Sea port at Aqaba was opened in 1975 for phosphate traffic.
Jordan - Day 1
Jordan - Day 1
Day 1 of the trip saw us visit a plinthed steam locomotive before heading to the main railway station in Amman. Here we had a look around the buildings, the depot and a museum. At the depot there was feverish activity to try to get the promised steam locomotive into working order. This was No. 23, a 2-8-2 built in 1951 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn in Darlington. In the end it did work, but a diesel loco was provided to help out. This was fortunate as No.23 expired and was detached at Zarqa - though not before assisting the diesel at a couple of places where the track at level crossings had been buried under debris. This was the first train to cover the 61 km route north from Amman to Al-Mafraq for two years. Return to Amman was rather late and the second half was in the dark.
Jordan - Day 2
Jordan - Day 2
Day 2 covered the 125 km south from Amman to El-Abiad. The first 40 km, as far as El-Jiza, used steam loco "No.52". At El-Jiza 40210 took over for the remainder of the trip.
Beyond Al-Jiza the desert starts in earnest.
Amman to El-Jiza sees one or two trains per week during the tourist season; no.52 is the preferred locomotive for these workings. Beyond El-Jiza to Ma'an there is no regular traffic at all, the last train was probably an ECS move in October/November 2016. At El-Abiad we returned by coach to Amman, then back again next morning, as there were no suitable hotels in the area.
Jordan - Day 3
Jordan - Day 3
Day 3 covered the 110 km from El-Abiad to Ma'an. None of this section sees any regular traffic, despite it passing two phosphate mines. All phosphate traffic in this area goes out by road.
We visited the two mines, El-Abiad and El-Hassa - each branch a few km long - by propelling the train up the branch.
We had a "proper" visit to Ma'an next morning. We overnighted in Wadi Musa, close to the ancient archaeological site at Petra, then returned to Ma'an next morning.
Jordan - Petra visit
Jordan - Petra visit
With a couple of hours before the bus to pick up the railtour, I had time to make a quick visit to the ancient remains at Petra. The site opened at 06:00, I was one of the first in, and I was back in the Hotel having breakfast by 07:45.
Jordan - Day 4
Jordan - Day 4
After a few of us had made an early morning visit to the archaeological site at Petra our coach brought us back to Ma'an, where we visited the old loco depot and the railway's wagon works - located here even though Ma'an is 55 km north of the normal limit of train operations. South of here, as far as the "junction" with the former Medina line, the track is owned by the Jordan Hejaz Railway but leased to the Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC). Beyond the junction, as far as the depot this side of Aqaba port, the track is owned by ARC.
Jordan - Day 5
Jordan - Day 6
Jordan - Day 6
Heading back from Aqaba to Amman, plus a visit to the amphitheatre in Amman.