The Railways of Iran

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rogerfarnworth
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The Railways of Iran

Postby rogerfarnworth » Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:25 pm

This is the first of what I hope will be a few articles about the Railways of Iran. It focusses on the first line built between Tehran and Rey and operating from 1888 to around 1960-61.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/03/23/ra ... o-rey-1888

I have been reading old copies of the Railway Magazine from the 1950s and 1960s. The old small format magazines somehow seem more attractive than the glossy larger format modern magazines, perhaps that is a sign of ageing!

In the January 1963 edition of the magazine there is a long article about the railways of Iran which is based on a visit in 1961 to Iran by M.H. Baker MA.

Until the 1930s, Iran was relatively isolated, but from around 1865 various European Countries had sought concessions to construct railways but the Imperial government continued to value isolation above integration.

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Chops
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby Chops » Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:37 am

I was rather curious that trains via Iran is how the USSR was largely resupplied during WWII. Much owing to British sacrifice and courage in North Africa. How the USSR had survived the invasion, at all, was always a mystery to me.
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Lysander
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby Lysander » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:55 am

They survived by spectacularly overwhelming their aggressor, but at the most terrible cost to themselves in terms of deaths. The USSR [which doesn't really exist as a whole entity now] refers to WW2 as the Great Patriotic War, mobilising themselves in ways which would be difficult to imagine in any other country apart from, perhaps, China. It is true that the Allies supplied them [at great cost to themselves] with essential materiel but the Russians supplied the manpower, 34 million of them fighting in the armed forces [and possibly as many as 29 million citizens being killed during the conflict].

Even after losing spectacularly at Moscow and Stalingrad, the Germans were determined to carry forward the war on The Eastern Front. It was the great Battle of Kursk in 1943 that turned the tide and, for the Germans, it was then just a matter of time. It is worth reading about Kursk to understand just how effectively the Russians mobilised their civilian population and to be absolutely astonished by the statistics: nearly 6000 tanks involved, over 4000 aircraft, 2500 miles of trenches dug and the Germans lost nearly a third of their army.

Everbody remembers El Alamein and Iwo Jima but Kursk, for some reason, seems better known for the submarine of the same name blowing up than the battle which turned the tide on The Eastern Front.

Tony
Men with false teeth may yet speak the truth.......

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Chops
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby Chops » Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:37 pm

Truly unimaginable numbers.
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rogerfarnworth
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby rogerfarnworth » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:44 pm

The first instalment about Iran's Railways was about a narrow gauge line near Tehran

This is the next installment covering the Railways of Iran and covers the period up to the end of the Second World War. It includes the logistical supply of Soviet army.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/03/24/ra ... 10-to-1945

The Trans-Iranian Railway - When completed, the Trans-Iranian Railway was an immense achievement. It ran for 850 miles and linked the South and North of the country. For the first time the northern agricultural lands and the Caspian Sea ports would be linked to ports and oilfields in the south. It linked the capital Tehran with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. The railway connected Bandar Shah (now: Bandar Torkaman) in the north and Bandar Shahpur (now: Bandar-e Emam Khomeyni) in the south via Ahvaz, Ghom and Tehran.

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captrees
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby captrees » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:06 am

I travelled on the train from Istanbul to Teheran in 1972. The Iranian leg of the train was in beautiful old carriages, like Pullmans, but we were told they were German, of WW1 era. I recall a pack of wolves running alongside the train at one point.

The train, or some of it, crossed Lake Van in Turkey on a ferry. I wondered at the time how such a big ship arrived on an inland lake, where no shipyards would exist.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Van_Ferry

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Chops
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby Chops » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:59 am

Brilliant adventure. Indeed, how did ferries get to the inland Lake Van?
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rogerfarnworth
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby rogerfarnworth » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:25 am

If anything like East Africa, the lake steamers were brought in part by part and assembled like a large jigsaw! Early in Africa there were only supply caravans to bring in the parts, no road or rail.

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Mountain
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby Mountain » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:47 am

I read somewhere that the greatest number of deaths by country in WW2 were with the Russians and it was double the second placed country which I believe was Germany. This was due to the cold conditions and the German fuel air bombs used against the Russians where large amounts of Russians were killed.
Last edited by Mountain on Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

b308
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby b308 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:50 am

More to do with Stalin's total disregard for life, especially his own countrymen, the cold and Germans may have helped but it was Stalin's tactics that did the damage.

Bigmet
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby Bigmet » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:19 am

Stalin's slaughter of most of the Red Army's officer corps before the invasion a truly inspired move. But then he was Hitler's ally at the time, and supplying Germany with war materiel up to the day before the invasion commenced by the terms of the Molotov pact, something that is often forgotten. They sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind. It's not often that such justice is so clearly displayed.

b308
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby b308 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:12 pm

A little bit unfair on the general Russian populace, Bigmet? The poor sods didn't have any choice in the matter, be used as canon fodder or sent to the gulags... The most unfair thing was that Stalin survived the war and carried on murdering people until his death...

Bigmet
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby Bigmet » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:42 pm

b308 wrote:A little bit unfair on the general Russian populace, Bigmet? The poor sods didn't have any choice in the matter, be used as cannon fodder or sent to the gulags... The most unfair thing was that Stalin survived the war and carried on murdering people until his death...

Or even be used as cannon fodder, and be sent to the gulag if you happened to survive. (If you were an unfortunate loyal comrade of the USSR who chanced to have contact with citizens of either the Axis or the Western Allies in the course of your duties, then the camps were waiting for you.) Of course there were plenty of other ways of going there,including completely random chance.

And throughout, Stalin enjoyed majority support from the Russian people. (As the present stinker succeeding to the office does.) The writings of those that dared to dissent are extremely harsh toward those who failed to resist. It is our own shortcomings as human beings that lead to dire consequences, as this present little infection episode so clearly demonstrates. We are all guilty. Just count yourself happy to have been born into a more benign society, obtained by the blood and effort of a great many people who showed real backbone when it mattered.

b308
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby b308 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:50 am

Too true! And stayed inside when they were told to (under the stairs or in the shelter in the back garden!)...

rogerfarnworth
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Re: The Railways of Iran

Postby rogerfarnworth » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:12 pm

After the War, Iran's railways experienced a period of relative stagnation. Significant developments did not occur until the 1950s.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/03/28/ra ... -the-1960s

The Cambridge History of Iran - Volume 1, which was published in 1968 says that after shortages disappeared a pattern became established, and by 1968, railways provided the basic freight-transport service from the Persian Gulf ports to Tehran and the eastern Caspian Sea region. The authors said, "Branch lines have been extended to Tabriz and Mashhad (Meshed), mitigating to a high degree the relative decline of these cities since 1925. A 120 mile westward extension of the railway line from Tabriz, now being built under the sponsorship of the Central Treaty Organization, will connect the Iranian and Turkish railways. (It was completed between Tehran and Tabriz by 1960.) An eastward extension from Qum, south of Tehran, is now complete as far as Yazd (but not by 1961 when Baker visited) and will ultimately connect with the Pakistan railway system in Baluchistan. During World War I a line of this system (then part of India) was extended as far as Zahidin in Iran, a short distance from the border. Service to Zahidin is provided by Pakistan National Railways, but there is no regular schedule." The line when built was 5ft. 6in. gauge.


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