|The official opening of the railroad to Be'er Sheva, October 1915.|
I have been researching in the Ottoman Imperial Archives for photographs for my next book, World War I in the Holy Land, specifically on the vital logistical role played by the extensive railroad network built by the Turks throughout the region. Without giving away too much now, I focused on the Be'er Sheva station, the hub for moving Turkish supplies and men for the combat along the Suez Canal, in the Sinai, and southern Palestine between 1915 and 1917.
More than 100 Jews worked for the railroad system, and on January 15, 1917, 16 Jews were killed in a British air raid on the rail yard. Other Jewish workers died of disease and flash floods.
All photographs are from my collection of Ottoman Imperial Archives photographs, unless otherwise noted. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
|Aerial photograph of the Turkish base in Be'er Sheva, 1917. Note the railroad yard and warehouses in the foreground. (Australian Light Horse Studies Centre)|
Ottoman train and troops in the Be'er Sheva railroad station
|Preparations for the Jerusalem station inauguration, 1892. Note the Yemin Moshe windmill in the background.|
|Dignitaries at the dedication of the Jerusalem train station, 1892|
|A view of the station from the front of the building. 1890s|
|Another vantage point of the Jerusalem station, 1900. (Library of Congress)|
|An illustration of the opening of the Jerusalem train station, 1892.|
|Railroad construction on the way to Jerusalem, 1891|
As the British and ANZAC forces moved north after capturing Be'er Sheva and Jerusalem, they switched the narrow gauge Ottoman rail system to a wider gauge in order to carry heavier loads. The next picture from the Australian New South Wales State Library shows the rail conversion at the Jerusalem railway station.
|Laying the wider-gauge rails in the Jerusalem station, circa 1918. (NSW State Library)|
|The station in Haifa, 1900.|
|The Ramla train station between Jaffa and Jerusalem, 1894. Another caption of this picture is dated 1904,|
|Construction of a railroad bridge near Battir on the approaches to Jerusalem, 1891|
|Railroad station in Lydda (Lod), 1891|