Iraqi Republic Railways
|Products||Passenger Rail Transport|
|Iraqi Republic Railways|
|National railway||Iraqi Republic Railways Company|
|1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)|
IRR comprises 1,905 kilometres (1,184 mi) of standard gauge. IRR has one international interchange, with Chemins de Fer Syriens (CFS) at Rabiya. The system runs from Rabiya southward through Mosul, Bayji, and Baghdad to Basra, with a branch line from Shouaiba Junction (near Basra) to the ports of Khor Az Zubair and Umm Qasr, westward from Baghdad through Ramadi and Haqlaniya to Al Qaim and Husayba, with a branch line from Al Qaim to Akashat, and east-west from Haqlaniya through Bayji to Kirkuk.
The first section of railway in what was then the Ottoman Empire province of Mesopotamia was a 123 kilometres (76 mi) length of the Baghdad Railway between that city & Samarra opened in 1914. Work had started northwards from Baghdad with the aim of meeting the section being constructed across Turkey & Syria to Tel Kotchek and an extension northwards from Samarra to Baiji was opened in December 1918.
From 1916 onwards an invading British Military force brought narrow gauge equipment, firstly 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge and later 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) gauge from India to Southern Mesopotamia to construct various sections of line to support its offensive against the Turks. Britain defeated the Ottomans and Mesopotamia became a League of Nations mandate under British administration. In April 1920 the British military authorities transferred all railways to a British civilian administration, Mesopotamian Railways.
The metre gauge line from Basra to Nasiriyah was the most important section constructed during the war in terms of its significance as part of later efforts to construct a national railway network. Soon after the end of World War I this was extended northwards from Ur Junction outside Nasiriyah up the Euphrates valley with the complete Basra to Baghdad route being opened on 16 January 1920.
The other section of metre gauge line built during World War I that had ongoing significance was that from Baghdad East north eastwards to the Persian border. After the war the eastern end of this line was diverted to Khanaqin and the wartime built line north west from Jalula Junction was extended from Kingerban to Kirkuk in 1925.
In 1932 Iraq became independent from Britain. In March 1936 Britain sold Mesopotamian Railways to Iraq, which renamed the company Iraqi State Railways. Work resumed on the extension of the Baghdad Railway between Tel Kotchek on the Syrian frontier and Baiji. The through route was opened and completed on 15 July 1940. In 1941 the Iraqi State Railways PC class 4-6-2 steam locomotives were introduced to haul the Baghdad — Istanbul Taurus Express on the Baghdad Railway between Baghdad and Tel Kotchek. From 1941 onwards the UK War Department supplemented ISR's locomotive fleets: the metre gauge with HG class 4-8-0s requisitioned from India and new USATC S118 Class 2-8-2's from the USA, and the standard gauge with new LMS Stanier Class 8F 2-8-0s and USATC S100 Class 0-6-0T's.
In 1947 the Iraq Petroleum Company opened a branch at Kirkuk, which it operated with its own Hudswell Clarke 2-8-4T's from 1951. ISR opened a new metre gauge line from Kirkuk to Arbil in 1949. A joint road & rail bridge was opened across the River Tigris in Baghdad in 1950, finally connecting the east and west bank metre gauge systems. ISR added new steam locomotives in the 1950s: metre gauge 2-8-2's from Maschinenfabrik Esslingen and Vulcan Foundry and 2-8-0s from Krupp, plus standard gauge 2-8-0s also from Krupp.
In 1958 when Iraq's Hashemite monarchy was overthrown and a republic declared, ISR was renamed Iraqi Republic Railways. In 1961 IRR began to replace its standard gauge steam locomotive fleet with diesels from ČKD and ALCo. In 1967 several classes of steam locomotive were still in service on the standard gauge system, but these were replaced by further classes of diesel from Alstom, Montreal Locomotive Works and MACOSA. IRR did not begin to replace its metre gauge steam locomotives until after 1983.
In 1964 IRR extended its standard gauge network with a line from Baghdad to Basrah which opened for freight in 1964 and for passengers in 1968. It has since been extended from Shouaiba Junction to the port of Umm Qasr.
Passenger Services 
In about October 2008 a commuter service resumed between Baghdad Central and the southern suburb of Doura. There is a nightly service between Baghdad and Basra and a Fridays only pilgrims service to Samarra. In March 2009 a weekly service started between Baghdad and Fallujah. The Baghdad - Mosul line is almost ready for passenger services to resume. Transport Minister Abdul Jabbar Ismail said he hoped to extend the existing network of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) to between 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) and 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) but there were obstacles such as budget restraints and contract approvals.
Iraq-Syria Direct Railway Link 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2012)|
Syrian Railways had been extending a rail route from Deir ez-Zor Junction towards the modern Husaibah branch terminus on the Iraqi side of the border, which was built as a through station. The route follows the Euphrates river valley and Google Earth shows the route complete to within 30 kilometres (19 mi) of the border, but requiring a major bridge across the river. This route would be more direct than the existing one via the border station at Tall Kushik.
Iraq-Jordan Direct Railway Link 
In August 2011, Jordanian government approved the construction of the railway from Aqaba to the Iraqi border (near Traibil). The Iraqis in the meantime started the construction of the line from the border to their current railhead at Ramadi.
High-speed Baghad-Basra line 
IRR uses Soviet-style SA3 automatic couplers. In order to allow interchange with CFS and Turkish State Railways which both use screw couplers, IRR locomotives and most wagons are equipped with screw couplings and buffers. In Iraqi service the buffers do not make contact and the screw couplings hang down unattached. The railways in adjoining Saudi Arabia use American type Janney automatic couplers. There is currently no rail link planned to Saudi Arabia.
- Iran - one link partially under construction and a second link planned
- Jordan - partially constructed - break of gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)/1,050 mm (3 ft 5 1⁄3 in)
- Syria - same gauge - at Rabiaa/al-Ya'rubiya
See also 
- Hughes (1981) p. 87
- Hughes (1981) p. 90
- Hughes (1981) p. 89
- Hughes (1981) p. 98
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust: Image no. br670530
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust: Image no. br670509
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust: Image no. br670616
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670322
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670607
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670534
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670436
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670415
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670614
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670619
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670305
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670310
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670502
- The Restoration & Archiving Trust, Image no. br670309
- Hughes (1981) p. 97
- Railway & Archiving Trust, Iraqi standard gauge railways (gallery of photographs from 1967)
- Railway & Archiving Trust, Iraqi metre gauge railways (gallery of photographs from 1967)
- David White (1 March 2004). "Rebuilding Iraq's ravaged railways". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 9 September 2007.
- "All Aboard the Baghdad Metro", Los Angeles Times, 18 November 2008
- "Iraq's Struggle to get railway back on track after neglect and war", The Times, 14 April 2009
- Construction begins on 500km Jordan-Iraq railway, Construction Week, 24 August 2011
- "Alstom in deal to build high-speed rail in Iraq". www.telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 26 June 2011.
- Hughes, Hugh (1981). Middle East Railways. Continental Railway Circle. pp. 87–99. ISBN 0-9503469-7-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rail transport in Iraq|
- "Iraq Railways", www.iraqrailways.com, general information
- "Iraq Railway Network", www.ajg41.plus.com (United Nations Joint Logistics Centre UNJLC), 22 May 2005, map of railway routes in Iraq
- Andrew Grantham, "Railways in Iraq - an unofficial site", www.ajg41.plus.com
- "Photo Gallery - Iraqi Republic Railways Co.", www.on-track-on-line.com (On Track On Line)
- Rainer Fuchs, "Rainer's Iraq Railway Stamps Pages", fuchs-online.com
- "The Railways of Iraq", www.gwrarchive.org (The Restoration & Archiving Trust), archived from the original on 12 June 2009
- Iraq Railways Photos on YouTube