Jordan has an area of 89.206 square km and is located in southwestern Asia. This country is a vast and desert plateau. Only a northwestern part is a plain area. The only access of this country to the sea is made through Aqaba port in the Persian Gulf. Jordan has about 25.7 km sea border in the south end part in the coast of Aqaba. The main cities of Jordan are divided into 13 provinces (mohafiza) as follows: Amman, Arbad, Albalgha, Alkork, Maan, Mafragh, Tofeila, Madba, Almazar, Alaqaba, Alsalt, Jarsh and Zargha. Amman with a population of 5.1 million people is the capital city of Jordan. Zargha, Arbad, Ajlun, Madba, Alsalt, Altofeila, Maan and Aqaba are the major cities of Jordan.



In 2009, population of this country reached around 6 million people. About 40% of the population of Jordan is composed of the Palestinians. In terms of population, this country is in the 108th rank in the world. The level of public culture and academic education in Jordan is remarkable, so that out of 6 million people, 89.9% are literate. Allegedly, in terms of the level of literacy, this country has the first rank in proportion with the population among the Middle-east countries.



Aqaba Railways Corporation (ARC)

Current President of ARC is Mr.Yaser Krishan.


Eng. Yaser Krishan, previously Rolling Stock Manager, was appointed in August Director General of Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC), the Jordanian railway company in charge of freight transport (essentially transport of phosphate to the port of Aqaba on the Red Sea).

He succeeds Eng. Hussein Krishan who had been leading Aqaba Railway Corporation for the last eight years and was also Vice-Chairman of the UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle-East (UIC RAME). In May, Eng. Hussein Krishan was appointed CEO of the Ma’an Development Company by the Government of Jordan.

Eng. Yaser Krishan, born in 1965, has a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (University of Volgograd, Russia), CE in Mechanical Engineering/Transportation.
He is President of the Jordan Engineers Association, Ma’an Branch.
Eng. Yaser Krishan has held a number responsibilities within Aqaba Railway Corporation – as Workshop Engineer (1991 – 1994), Wagon Section Engineer (1995-1999), Workshop Manager (2000 – 2009), Acting Planning Manager (2005 – 2010) and finally Rolling Stock Manager. He was appointed Director General of Aqaba Railway Corporation in August.

The rail network of Jordan is 436 km of length (narrow gauge: 1050 mm), about 212 km of which belong to the Hejaz Jordan Railways (HJR) and 251 km belong to Aqaba Railways Corporation (ARC). Most of the lines are single-track. Presently, there is no traffic between Amman and Al-Abyad. There are 22 locomotives and 320 freight cars being operated.


Max. speed of the passenger trains in HJR between the Syrian border and Amman is 40 km/h, with no regular freight transportation on this route, only a few passenger trains run on this route. En-route the Aqaba Hejaz Railways (ARC), Al-Abyad, Maan, and aqaba are located and only freight transportation is tangible on this route.


The speed of freight trains is 60 km/h.

 The passenger train of Syrian border and Amman (82 km) has the optimum traveling time that is 3 hours and 27 minutes, which has been launched with an average speed of 24 km/h, and the freight train runs with the speed of 24 km/h on the Al-Abyad – Maan and Aqaba (285 km) with the traveling time of 8 hours and 20 minutes.

 The axle-load between the Syrian border and Amman is 10.5 t., while for the section Al-Abyad – Maan – Aqaba is estimated as 16 t. Max. standard length of the freight train on HJR network is 200 m and on ARC is 400 m.

 The line of the Syrian border and Amman has got 21.5 kg/m rails, equipped with steel sleepers and flexible fasteners.

 The Al-Abyad – Aqaba line (285 km) has got 34 and 49 kg/m rails, 78% of which is concrete sleepers of CWR, and the entire route is equipped with the flexible fasteners.


HJR is equipped with manual barriers and ARC with automatic barriers.


Major rail projects


The rail projects of HJR for development of the existing lines between Amman and Zarqa are indicative of coordination and discipline within the projects. This development will pave the way for offering services to the passengers.

 Development of the standards line between Amman and the Syrian border is of the long-term objectives of this plan, although no time scale has been defined for it.

 The rail projects of ARC for development of the existing lines between Al-Abyad and Aqaba are indicative of coordination in order to increase the axle-load capacity of the route. Constructing a narrow gauge line between Batn Elghul and Sehd Mine is a long-term project.


Planning by Jordan for constructing 1600 km of rail line

 Jordan intends to commence construction of 1600 km of rail line till the next year, which will pass through the Syrian border and Amman and go towards the port of Aqaba in the Red Sea with some branches to the borders of Iraq and Saudi Arabia as well. The said project is supposed to be completed in 2013 and will cost 4.5 million Dinar (US$ 6.4 b). The government of Jordan has already allocated US$ 140 million for the land acquisition. This project is vital for Jordan, since transportation of freight will be faster and easier through this route; the transportation costs will be reduced and trading will boost up.


ARC development project

 One of the projects to expand ARC is to develop HJR that  will indeed connect the rail lines of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The said route is dedicated for passenger transport.

 Another project of ARC is constructing the railway of Amman – Syrian border that is a long-term project.


Key contact details in ARC



Ministry of Transport

Minister: Mr. Anmar Al Khasawneh

Tel.: (+962) 5517066,

Mobile: (+962) 795 288 309

Fax: (+962) 5517070

Email: minister@mot.gov.jo

Aqaba Railways Corporation (ARC)

Website: www.arc.gov.jo

Ma'an P.O. Box: 50, Jordan

General Director

Eng. Yaser Krishan

        Tel.: (+962) 321 321 14

Fax: (+962) 321 351 05

Mobile: (+962) 796 78 88 37

Email: Eng.yaser@arc.gov.jo



Regional Office Contact Person

Mr. Moaath Mosleh Al Hammayda

Tel.: (+962) 321 321 14 (Ext.: 501), Mobile: (+962) 77 26 88 698

Fax:  (+962) 321 318 61

Email: info@arc.gov.jo


Planning Director

Eng. Bilal Al Kfaween

Tel.: (+962) 32 13 21 14    Ext.: 520

Fax: (+962) 32 13 18 61

Mobile: (+962) 799 99 77 22

Email: eng_bilal@ymail.com

Human Resources Director

Dr. Wael Al Awad

Tel.: (+962) 32 13 21 14    Ext.: 511

Fax: (+962) 32 13 51 05

Mobile: (+962) 776 794 737

Email: waelalsrhan@gmail.com

Infrastructure Director

Eng. Ghaleb Al Khalifat

Tel.: (+962) 32 13 21 14    Ext.: 518

Fax: (+962) 32 13 18 61

Mobile: (+962) 799 055 828

Email: ghalebabid@yahoo.com




 Statistical data of ARC




Name of the Railway (abbr.)



Area of the country (sq2 km) (million)



Population (million persons)



Length of line (km)

Total length: 293

Double-track: -

Electrified: -


Number of locos






Passenger coaches



Freight cars



Staff (million)



Train – km (million)



Passenger carried (million people)



Passenger – km (million)



Tonne carried (million)



Tonnes- km (million)


Source: UIC 2015 Statistics






Hejaz of Jordan Railways (HJR)

This railway, which is the continuance of CHF, has the same gauge and is considered as an important heritage of Jordan. In addition, one of the buildings of HJR is located in Maan that was the Head Office of Sultan Abdullah Ben Hussein.

Hejaz of Syria Railways (CHF)

This railway with the gauge of 1050 mm is one of the two independent state railways of Syria (the other one is CFS, with the gauge of 1476 mm and the length of 2500 km). This railway is from Damascus to Dera with a length of 200 km.

Administration of the Hejaz Railways

·         Ottoman Empire (1900-1917);

·         Under tutelage of England (1984);

·         Arabic Jordan (1948-1950);

·         Interior Ministry of Jordan (1950-1952);

·         HJR was established in 1952; now is being directed by the Jordan State Railways within Jordan.

General information on the Railways of Hejaz

The Hejaz Railway was originally built to transport pilgrims from Damascus to Medina, where they would travel on to Mecca for the Muslim Pilgrimage. The idea was first put forward in 1864 during the height of the age of great railways around the world, but it was not until 40 years later (1908) that the Hejaz Railway came into being. Before the Hejaz Railway, Muslim pilgrims traveled to Medina by camel caravan. The journey between Damascus and Medina usually took two months and was full of hardships. Since the Muslim calendar is a lunar one, the feast of Al Adha, when Muslims travel to Medina to worship the black stone changed from season to season. Sometimes it meant traveling through the winter, enduring freezing temperatures or torrential rains. At the height of the summer, it meant crossing scorching hot deserts. Towns and settlements were sparse and there were hostile Muslim tribes along the way, as well as the inevitable hucksters who prayed on pious pilgrims, as they made once in a lifetime pilgrimage, in obedience to their prophet Muhammed.

The building of the Hejaz Railway presented a financial and engineering challenge. It required a budget of some $16 million dollars, and this was at the turn of the century when dollars were worth a lot more than they are today. Contributions came from the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hammed, the Khedive of Egypt, and the Shah of Iran. Other contributions came from the Turkish Civil Service, Armed Forces, and other various fund-raising efforts (which included the sale of titles such as Pasha or Bey to citizens who could afford the price of instant honor).

Construction, maintenance and guarding of the line all presented enormous difficulties. The task was mainly undertaken by 5,000 Turkish soldiers. Along the way there were hostile tribesmen, who before the railway, made a lucrative profit guiding, protecting and providing for pilgrims. They were very unhappy at loosing part of their livelihood. Many of them were pastoralist whose main source of cash was their involvement in the pilgrimage each year. Along with this there were physical difficulties. Driving a railway across the Arabian deserts proved very difficult. The ground was very soft and sandy in places and solid rock in others. There were also major geographical obstacles to cross, such as the Naqab Escarpment in southern Jordan. While drinking water, and water for the steam engines was a problem, winter rainstorms caused flash floods, washing away bridges and banks and causing the line to collapse in places.

The camel caravan owners were far from pleased by the construction of the railway line, as it posed a considerable threat to their livelihood. The railway journey was quicker and cheaper, and no-one in his right mind would contemplate spending £40 on an arduous, two-month camel journey when he could travel in comfort in only four days for just £3.50. Frequent attacks on the trains by the tribes and furious caravan operators, made the journey to Medina a perilous undertaking for pilgrims, whether by camel or by rail. The pilgrims honor was also at stake. It was not long before pilgrims who took the long and difficult camel route started calling the rail route the "women route." It was proper for women and the sick to travel by rail, but real men, undertaking a real pilgrimage still traveled by camel caravan, just as the prophet Muhammed had done.

On 1 September 1908 the railway officially opened, and by the year 1912 it was transporting 30,000 pilgrims a year. As word spread that the pilgrimage had just become easier, business boomed, and by 1914 the annual load had soared to 300,000 passengers. Not only were pilgrims transported to Medina, but the Turkish army began to use the railway as its chief mode of transport for troops and supplies. This was to be the railways undoing, as it was severely damaged during the First World War (1914-1918), by Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab Revolt. The old Arab tribes that guided and guarded pilgrims now had the opportunity to turn their vengeance on the railway. While many claim that it was not their intention to destroy the railway, but rather attack the supply lines of the retreating Turkish army, the railway was destroyed anyway.

After the First World War, and until as recently as 1971, several attempts were made to revive the railway, but the scheme proved too difficult and too expensive. Road transport was soon established and, by the 1970s aviation had made rapid progress. The railway was soon abandoned and the huge old steam locomotives sat and rusted. But the romance of the railway remains alive.

In actuality, parts of the Hejaz Railway still exist, and some of the sections are still functioning. It is possible to travel from Damascus to Amman Jordan, on the old original rail line. Recently a Nabataea.net reader took the trip and documented it with pictures. Click here to take the virtual trip! Today, in 2003, the train still runs twice a week, taking all day to travel the same distance that it takes a car to travel 4 hours. The route south from Amman has been destroyed, but the train still runs from Wadi Hissa to Aqaba, transporting phosphates from the mines to the port. The line south into Saudi Arabia is no longer functioning, but railway enthusiasts still visit sites in Saudi, where there are a number of abandoned stations, round houses and rusting locomotives and cars.

If you would like to learn more about the Hejaz railway, follow the links on the left to the various stations located along the Hejaz Railway.




Damascus to Medina

Name of Station

Distance from Damascus in kilometers





Deir Ali
































Ghadir aI-Hajj


Batn al-GhuI










Ad-Dar ai-Hamra


Madain Salih










 Key contact of Jordan Hejaz Railways:


Website: www.jhr.gov.jo

Railway President: Mr. Salah Allouzi

Tel.: (+962) 64 89 5028

Fax: (+962) 64 89 4117

Email: s.allouzi@jhr.gov.jo

Deputy Director General: Mr. Nidal Al-Assaf

Tel.: (+962) 64 89 5413

Fax: (+962) 64 89 4117

Email: n.assaf@jhr.gov.jo

Safety and training Contact Person

Eng. Duha Rahahleh

Tel.: (+962) 64 89 5413

Fax: (+962) 64 89 4117

Mobile: (+962) 79 84 22 528

Email: duha.rahahla@jhr.gov.jo

Infrastructure Contact Person

Mr. Zaki Hmdan

Mobile: (+962) 79 90 50 930