Friday, 13 February 2009


There was a railway through Gaza. It ran from the north through to Sinai in the south, easy to build across flat countryside of sandy soil. The old maps show a station with sidings and a turning triangle in Gaza City.

I didn't get the chance to see what was left on the ground, but 250 metres to the east of the road leading to Erez crossing there is a line in the fields that looks suggestive of disused railway.

I found it again a short distance on the Israeli side. It looks long gone, unrecognisable as a railway line unless you're looking for it, but if you are, there are clues like the remains of ballast, a bit of old wooden sleeper, and the sides of what may have been a bridge over a drain. It was single track I presume.

A kilometre further on and the Israelis are in an advanced stage of rebuilding it as a modern railway, but I assume its course will diverge from the old route well before it meets the Security Wall that imprisons the Gaza Strip.

If anyone knows anything of the history of this line, or of the latest developments, I'd like to hear from them. It would be nice to think that the railway will one day be rebuilt, locking Gaza into the wider economy.

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