Haifa-Baghdad Railway. Survey 1930-1931. Report and Estimates. Volume I - Report
Haifa-Baghdad Railway. Survey 1930-1931. Report and Estimates. Volume I - Report
Haifa-Baghdad Railway. Survey 1930-1931. Report and Estimates. Volume I - Report
Haifa-Baghdad Railway. Survey 1930-1931. Report and Estimates. Volume I - Report

RENDEL, PALMER & TRITTON, CONSULTING ENGINEERS. Haifa-Baghdad Railway. Survey 1930-1931. Report and Estimates. Volume I - Report.

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RENDEL, PALMER & TRITTON, CONSULTING ENGINEERS. Haifa-Baghdad Railway. Survey 1930-1931. Report and Estimates. Volume I - Report. London, [1932].

The Report volume only (the Estimates volume being even rarer), folio. Original two-tone pebble-grained cloth, ruled and lettered in gilt; pp. 3, [3], ix, 222, with 10 colour-printed maps, 5 of which very large and folding and bound at end within numbered tabs, the other 5 full-page, one black and white map of the Arabian peninsula showing pilgrim routes in text on p.125, 10 leaves of photographic plates printed on both recto and verso, folding longitudinal section; very light rubbing to extremities, tabs a little damaged and now repaired, one leaf with repaired short marginal tears, otherwise a very good copy; provenance: withdrawn from the library of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO; stamp inside front cover).
Very rare report by the engineers tasked with surveying possible routes for the proposed Haifa-Baghdad railway, complete with many large folding maps. In the 1920s, the British contemplated building a railway connecting the Mediterranean with the capital of Iraq, ostensibly to shore up imperial rule, support the British-backed Arab government of Iraq, and secure the oil pipeline already running from the Mosul oilfields to Haifa. The British were also aware that, with the development of air warfare, the Suez Canal could be easily attacked in a time of war, and alternative military routes to cross the Middle East to access India were required. The rail link was no mere pipe-dream concocted within the walls of the Colonial Office; this lot is testament to how serious the British were in their intentions. The survey employed 360 men deployed in 6 camps across the desert, with their motor vehicles covering a total distance of 335,000 miles, costing a total of £22,200, ‘a sum very much in excess of the amount anticipated when the estimates cost of the survey was prepared in 1930’ (p.13). The report covers the geology and seismology of the region, its meteorology and water sources, as well as discussions on the general history and geography of the region. It concludes that the best route to traverse the most difficult part, that from Haifa, over the Jordan, and then eastwards to the Trans-Jordan plateau, was through the valley of Wadi el Arab, although it required a gradient of 2% (1 in 50) over 30 miles and necessitated the construction of seven tunnels and nine viaducts. Another aspect of this British project was to enable passengers and goods to get to Iraq from the west without having to enter Fench mandated territory, as Cook's Travellers' Gazette pointed out in 1931. However, a series of economic difficulties trumped political and military expediency, and with the outbreak of the Second World War, the dream of a trans-Middle East rail service evaporated. - See Melinda Cohoon, The British-American Imperial Agenda in Iraq: the Oil and Railway line from Kirkuk to Haifa, 1920-1932, in: PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal).
WorldCat gives three locations, Durham University, King's College and University of York.

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