Saturday, March 31, 2012

1912-1915 Taurus Mts. & Adana [Construction of the Berlin to Baghdad Railway]

1912-1915 Taurus Mts. & Adana [Construction of the Berlin to Baghdad Railway] Built from 1903 to 1940. Researched for “From Aghin” the Sakaian Saga. Railroad was planned to connect Berlin with the (then) Ottoman Empire city of Bagdad with a 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) line through modern-day Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

The railroad became a source of international disputes during the years immediately preceding World War I. Technical difficulties in the remote Taurus Mountains and diplomatic delays meant that by 1915 the railway was still 480 kilometres (300 mi) short of completion. Construction resumed in the 1930s and was completed in 1940.

By 1915 the railway ended some 50 miles east of Diyarbakır. Another spur, heading east from Aleppo, ended at Nusaybin. Additionally some rail was laid starting in Baghdad reaching north to Tikrit and south to Kut. This left a gap of some 300 miles between the railroad lines. Additionally, there were three mountains which the railroad was going to go through, but the tunnels through these three mountains were not complete. So the railroad was, in fact, broken into four different sections at the start of the war. The total time to get from Istanbul to Baghdad during the war was 22 days.[24] The total distance was 1,255 miles (2019 km).

The railway passed through the following towns and places, in the order given, north to south: Konya, Anatolian table lands, Karaman, Ereğli, the foothills of Taurus, Gülek Pass, Çukurova plain, Adana, Yenice, Amanus range, Aleppo, Nusaybin, Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra.

GERMAN ENGINEERS AND GERMAN CAPITAL were largely responsible for the construction of the railway to Baghdad. The section through the Taurus Mountains was completed during the war of 1914-1918. The original idea was to penetrate the range by one tunnel, but a series of twelve tunnels and bridges had to be built. The concrete bridges have a total length of 362 yards, and the tunnels a total length of 7 miles 580 yards. Above is a viaduct between two tunnel mouths.

BRIDGING A GORGE in the Taurus Mountains. During the war of 1914-18 the Baghdad Railway became of strategic importance, and, to speed up construction, narrow-gauge lines were first laid. The alteration of the Taurus line to standard gauge did not take place until October, 1918. The above photograph was taken during the early days of the enterprise. After the Armistice with Turkey the line passed temporarily under British control and the work was continued. 

A TUNNEL MOUTH IN THE TAURUS MOUNTAINS. Boring had to be carried out mostly through limestone rock. Tunnels were lined only in the sections which required strengthening ; but in the majority of places no lining was necessary, as the rock was sufficiently hard and solid.

GREAT DIFFICULTIES were experienced by the railway engineers in driving a way through the Amanus Mountains; fourteen tunnels had to be bored. This section is between the stations of Adana and Aleppo.

ADANA STATION. Adana is a busy commercial centre on the banks of the River Sheihun, and here the "Taurus Express" leaves the territory of the Turkish State Railways to enter Syria on the lines of a French company. The French railway is used as far as Aleppo.

THE WORKSHOPS AT BELEMEDIK erected for the building of the Baghdad Railway. The Taurus Mountains can be seen towering up in the background. For the task of surveying alone fourteen miles of road had to be laid and several thousand men were employed.

THE RIVER EUPHRATES, of historic renown, is crossed by a steel girder bridge of ten spans, each ot 263 ft. The bridge, over which passes the "Taurus Express," rests on masonry piers built on oak piles that were driven down by special steel sheet cofferdams to a depth of over 30 ft. below the river bed. The bridge is near the station of Jerablus.

GERMAN-BUILT LOCOMOTIVE of the type used to haul the "Taurus Express" between Haydarpasa and Adana, on the Turkish State Railways. The Turkish lines have some 550 locomotives in operation, and large numbers of these are of German manufacture.

The archive photo of one the way Germans assisted Turkey during WWI. The vast empty spaces that comprised the Ottoman Empire made the aircraft an invaluable reconnaissance tool. This aircraft has been transported to Turkey along the famous Berlin to Bagdad railway and is being unloaded for reassembly. Germany thus gave Turkey the power to tie down hundreds of thousands of Allied troops.

Ancient city of the Caliphs now in British hands. British troops entering Bagdad after their victorious Mesopotamian campaign and shattering the German dream of the "Berlin-to-Bagdad" railway and domination of the east.


Blogger Unknown said...

Nice site! I have been along the Berlin-Bagdad Bahn in anatolië. Very interesting. A lot of POW's have worked along the line also British-Indien and also my grandfather George Bibby. I wrote a book about it but in Dutch.
Bye mr. Milhomme
Jacqueline van den Berg

1:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nice! I've ridden the train many times between Istanbul and Adana. The climb out of Adana through the mountains is breathtaking. Also, road the train once from Adana to Damascus. Jeff Linskens, Philadelphia, USA

6:48 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I wrote a book about my grandfather who have worked on the railroad between 1916 and 1919 as a prisoner of war.
It is in Dutch. Nice the read your comment. How amazing that train. I was in the train with 42 wagons.
Like to go again but not on my own. The political situation is very bad at this moment overthere.
If you go again let me know.
Bye see you
Jacqueline van den Berg
I moved to Utrecht
The Netherlands

11:25 PM  
Blogger Pete H said...

Late to this one, but a nice collection of historic photos. My grandfather worked on the construction of the railway as a prisoner in WW1. Eventually escaped using trains on this railway.
jacq, just wondered if your book is in print somewhere, it sounds fascinating.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My BOOK: missed presumed killed
Was issued 2015 in Dutch
"Vermist, waarschijnlijk dood"
No money to translate! Nice to have a message.
Your grandfather was British too? There were 800 of 13 000 who came back in UK
Terrible time. I was in North Korea this week because my father was in the Korean War . He was Dutch.
Thank you again of your comment!

6:19 AM  

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