Book review

by Neil Robinson

ENCOMPASSING the region from Georgia to Yemen, via Cyprus, Turkey, Iran and all points in between, this impressive reference work is the first of 20 volumes being prepared in a Herculean effort to publish a complete historical survey of rail routes in all parts of the world.

Numbered 8 in the planned series which will be published as information is compiled, the 168-page book contains 71 colour maps in which the author attempts to provide a register of all railway routes in the Middle East and Caucasus, ranging from the relatively well-known Baghdad railway to such obscure industrial and military subjects as the Rustavi Industrial Complex in Georgia and a 600 mm gauge Kuwaiti line which had its brief heyday in 1914.

Accompanying text provides chronological details of the development of each country’s rail systems, as well as important social and economic changes since the first openings in the days of Ottoman or Russian rule.

Information is provided on companies and mergers, as well as line opening, electrification and closing dates, and there is an index of current and previous station names.

Despite the obscurity of many lines - the author notes that 'distances are sometimes haphazard even in official documents' - data has been brought together from diverse sources to produce a definitive reference work.

£19·99 plus postage, from World Rail Atlas Ltd, 1 High View Close, Darfield, Barnsley, S73 9AR, UK