Found whilst ploughing through endless old railway modelling magazines that I have been given to pass on to railway modelling family members. Have found a few novel ideas to share over the next few months.
A good 1970 photo by N. V. Salt of one of the locomotives on this famously ambushed railway – see previous blogposts such as
Seasoned railway modellers might not be inspired by seeing trains blown up or derailed.
However I spotted an interesting photo on the Not Quite Mechanised website by Chris Kemp of a detailed desert train in a diorama model at the ‘Shifting Sands: Lawrence of Arabia’ exhibition at Newark’s National Civil War Centre.
With my Train In a Tin, a bit of sand, some Tiger.com cocktail stick palm trees, a scattering of desert hexes on my Heroscape hex board and the old OO / HO Airfix Bedouin Warriors and / or French Foreign Legion, this could be an interesting desert scenario variation of my recent ACW Battle of Pine Ridge River.
Interesting. Thanks Chris Kemp on the NQM Not Quite Mechanised website for another interesting blogpost that sparks some more gaming scenario ideas
Adding to the Wild West movie inspired T.E. Lawrence myth, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia 1962 film features an exploding desert train on the Hejaz Railway. (Clips available on YouTube). 1962 – there was a year, Lawrence of Arabia in the cinema, Donald Featherstone’s War Games published …
Skim reading this Great Arab Revolt Project GARP website
This article features the following interesting perspective:
“To understand why the rail line was never permanently closed by military action we need to know something of railway features. Once built they are: easy to maintain, environmentally friendly, difficult to destroy, easily repaired, seldom interrupted through accident, produce very little “road-kill”, require small manpower to operate, are inexpensive to maintain after the original capital expenditure and, rolling stock (the engines and carriages) is generally plentiful.
Railways can move large tonnages and civil or military passenger numbers over vast distances relatively quickly, including the return of casualties to hospital facilities. Although used with success earlier, the American Civil War 1861-65 proved the strategic and tactical use of railways.
Note, damaging or destroying one train has not destroyed a rail network.”
From The Hejaz Railway, GARP website article by Neil Dearberg, 2010
Running steam locomotives with their need for wateringpoints through a desert is a considerable challenge, one that would have affected building parts of the Wild West railways too.
The GARP gallery also features ruined and intact station buildings.
A Bit of Imagi-Native Distance: The Brontes do Lawrence of Arabia!
Without wishing to trivialise real past events and politics in the Middle East over recent years and the past century, this is all fascinating stuff for the desert Imagi-Nation games scenario from the Brontes onwards to a steampunked early train Stevenson’s Rocket kit from Dapol / Airfix. Hmm ..
The Brontes travelled on trains and featured Byronic Victorian desert nations loosely based on those Africa and Arabia. I’m sure that the Bronte sisters and brother Branwell would have found Lawrence of Arabia a fascinating and emotionally complex heroic figure for their novels.
“From June 1836 to September / autumn 1836, Northangerland was in control of the new French style Provisional Government of the Grand Republican Union (formerly the Verdopolitan Union). He has direct control over Angria where his allies (Ashantees,French and Bedouin forces) wreak a reign of terror. The Arab troops are led by Lord Jordon, in Byronic ‘Turkish’ dress and known as Sheik Medina.” (From my Charlotte Bronte as Gamer post Man of TIN blog)
Zamorna’s European enemy Lord Jordan (in his Arabian guise of Sheik Medina) is the Byronic head of an Arabian army invading, with a combined African, French and Scottish force, the Bronte Imagi-Nation of Angria. He is defeated and killed at the ‘Battle Of Leyden’ in Angria in the Bronte Year of 1837.
Definitely a possibility of being Sidetracked by that one …