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.









Hejaz of Jordan Railways (JHR)

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:


Director General:

Zahi A. Khalil
Strategic and Operational Leadership for mega businesses especially in Manufacturing and Construction Industries. Timely delivery of work tasks on budget and within the anticipated quality level. BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering. DBA degree (Doctor of Business Administration) is at the late stage.
Excellent Interpersonal and communication skills 
Marketing and Client relations 
Strong leadership qualities 
Decision-making skills 
Meticulous attention to detail Planning
Problem- solving Technical/Engineering skills Conceptual skills
Strong work ethic
Team work
Director General, Jordan Hejaz Railway – JHR (Amman Jordan) Aug. 2021 – Present
-    Implement the policies established by the Government and the Council (Board of Directors) and report to them.
-    Make recommendations on policy issues for Council consideration and assist them in reaching agreement.
-    Supervise, on high-level and occasionally in details, the main business activities at JHR Establishment (investment, finance, operation and maintenance, procurement, HR, Quality and Safety, …)
-    Liaise with internal and external partners to help JHR improve its process and maintain the heritage line operational
-    Lead the overall business to achieve the short- and long-term goals
General Manager, Al-Rajhi Alliance (Jeddah-KSA)
Jun. 2013 – Present
Industry: Railway
8 years of experience as a General Manager leading a multi-national multi-projects organization. With my excellent communication and marketing skills with our prestigious Clients, I have achieved a business expansion from 2.0 billion US$ to 3.8 billion US$  in 5 years.
•    Develop business strategic plans to improve productivity, quality, and efficiency of operations.
•    Establish SMART goals and objectives of the operation and commercial function, processes and procedures to ensure people are following them and achieve the expected results
•    Day-to-day liaison with prestigious Clients to follow up their concerns and issues and ensure they are satisfied within the Contract requirements with the objective of increasing the sales.
•   Responsible to evaluate past performance data to inform and predict future needs and production scheduling.
•    Develop and execute on continuous improvement strategies in collaboration with and support of the Top Management
•    Build a safety culture, ensure people equipment, plant and logistics are safe. Apply the zero accident safety policy.
•    Ensure that the three main factors of business success; quality, cost and time are monitored, followed up and achieved
•    Establish an annual budget with challenges to reduce cost as minimum as possible.
•   Manage   contract   manufacturing   and   logistics   vendors, evaluate the performance of vendors to ensure they meet the Company's cost, quality and delivery requirements
•    Ensure that construction, technical and commercial operations comply with applicable policies and regulations and provide ethical leadership
•    Lead the overall business heads to achieve the short and long term goals
Operation Director, Al-Arrab Contracting Co. (Riyadh/Jeddah-KSA) Jan. 2008 – Jun. 2013
•    Represent   the   Company   in   front   of   Clients   and   other interfacing parties and attend regular meetings regarding construction, operation and handover
•    Successfully   introduced   ERP   system   to   operation   and implemented the system with integration of other Company's system.
•    Review commercial processes including: the development of formal   and   informal   bids,   RFQs   and   RFPs,   agreements, amendments and associated specifications documents to ensure that operation requirements have been met.
•    Manage the development of and monitor performance against the annual division budget
•   Evaluate the performance of supervisors and staff; establishes performance requirements and personal development targets
•    Fully involved in commercial negotiations with Client and Engineer for the benefit of the project and satisfaction of Company management
•   Reporting on potential risks and provide necessary input to risk assessment report
•    Manage and review the weekly and monthly reports on progress, quality, safety, risk, and construction highlighting weakness point and recommending corrective actions and scopes for improvements to the consortium steering committee
•    Responsible for the implementation of the approved quality control program and ensuring compliance with the requirement of the contract specifications and drawings
•    Understand and analyze work objectives, handle available resources,   establish   priorities   and   apply   a   methodical approach in thinking through, proper planning to carry out assignments
•    Communicate in writing with the top management expressing ideas and contractual matters clearly and concisely
•   Ensure that project construction works are inspected and approved according to quality plan, procedures, inspection and testing plans, and method statements.
•    Responsible for the recruitment of operation staff including project and site managers
Jordan University of Science and Technology – Jordan
Master's Degree (honored)
Major: Mechanical Engineering, GPA: 90%, 2003
Jordan University of Science and Technology – Jordan
Bachelor's Degree
Major: Mechanical Engineering, GPA:81%, 2000
Communication and leadership
For the past 20 years I have worked in both manufacturing and construction industries, over 8 years of experience as a General Manager leading a multi-national organization for multi-projects with special concern of the Operation and Commercial Functions. With my excellent communication and marketing skills with our prestigious Clients, I have achieved my business to be expanded from 2.0 billion US$ to 3.8 billion US$ in 3 years.