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Rail and Ancient Wonders of Jordan
RAILFAN / TOURIST TOUR
MARCH 22-APRIL 1, 2020
POSTPONED DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS
This tour will explore the railways
and ancient wonders of the kingdom of Jordan.
Day 1 Sunday March 22: (D)
Arrival in Amman Jordan. Met and transferred to the Hotel, Amman. Welcome dinner in the evening.
Day 2 Monday March 23: (B)
Leisurely late morning start. Two options: Cultural- guided city tour – visiting the Citadel, the Roman Theater as well as the labyrinthine “downtown” in the heart of the city with its markets and shops as well as many cafes, bars and restaurants. Or Rail Enthusiast: Coach to University of Jordan, Amman to see JHR 4-6-2 steam loco #84 ; then to Amman station where we visit the small museum and tour the locomotive depot and workshops where steam locomotives are still being repaired and returned to service. Here we will gain a good introduction to the former Hijaz Railway, built by the Ottomans in the early years of the 20th century to connect Turkey via Damascus to the holy city of Medina in what is now Saudi Arabia. The line opened in 1908 but only served this purpose for a few years prior to the First World War, when it was famously put out of action by the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia. Overnight Hotel, Amman.
Day 3 Tuesday March 24: (B, L)
Departing at approximately 9:00am on steam‐hauled train to Al‐Mafraq north of Amman. Lunch in local restaurant. Afternoon coach, trip firstly a short visit to see steam loco - JHR #63 2-6-2T at Al-Bayt University, Mafraq, then on to the spectacular, extensive Roman ruins at Jerash, which are now generally acknowledged to be one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates. Time permitting, we will head further north to Umm Qais in the hills above the River Jordan valley, where the Roman ruins are juxtaposed with an abandoned Ottoman-era village. Return back to Amman via the Jordan valley for a further night in Amman.
Day 4 Wednesday March 25: (B)
Coach transfer to Madaba to visit the 19th Century Greek Orthodox Church built over the remains of an early Christian Church with its 6th Century mosaics. We return to Amman via Salt and Mount Nebo and rejoin the train to start our journey southwards towards Aqaba, where other attractions await. Late morning transfer to Amman station – steam hauled train to Al‐Jeza. Diesel hauled train onwards to Al‐Qatrana. The lack of hotels in the desert area south of Amman means that we must take a coach transfer back to the hotel in Amman.
Day 5 Thursday March 26: (B)
Coach transfer back to Al‐Qatrana where we make a short visit to remains of the Ottoman castle before boarding our diesel hauled train to Al-Abiad. Here we hope to travel a short branch line heading eastward to the Wadi Al‐Abyad phosphate mine, if it’s available. We then take the coach for the journey to Petra via the town of Karak where, for the rail enthusiast we hope to visit JHR steam loco 2-8-2 #73 at Al Mu’tah University before visiting the impressive hilltop-crusader castle that dominates the town. Continue south along the famous King’s Highway to Petra.
Day 6 Friday March 27: (B)
This morning we take the coach back to Al-Abiad, with a stop at Shobak Crusader castle ruins. We take the train southwards to Ma’an where we visit the original Jordan‐Hejaz Railway station before ending our journey at Ma-an Aqaba Railway station. En route we hope to visit by train to the phosphate mine at Al‐Hasa and make a short walking visit off the train at Anieza to explore the 16th century Ottoman castle remains. Coach transfer from Ma’an back to the hotel in Petra.
Day 7 Saturday March 28: (B)
The highlight of the tour – the “Red Rose City” of Petra where we can visit the giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race at sunrise, or later if you wish. Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place: it has to be seen to be believed. Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1 mile in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 262 feet high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colors and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury). The Treasury is just the first of the many wonders that make up Petra. As you enter the Petra valley you will be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place and its outstanding architectural achievements. There are hundreds of elaborate rock-cut tombs with intricate carvings - unlike the houses, which were destroyed mostly by earthquakes, the tombs were carved to last throughout the afterlife and 500 have survived, empty but bewitching as you file past their dark openings. Here also is a massive Nabataean-built, Roman-style theatre, which could seat 3,000 people. There are obelisks, temples, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets, and high above, overlooking the valley, is the impressive Ad-Deir Monastery – a flight of 800 rock cut steps takes you there. Overnight at Petra.
Day 8 Sunday March 29: (B)
Currently the Aqaba Railway are upgrading the line south of Ma’an through Wadi Rum to the Red Sea coast at Aqaba and constructing a new line to the re-located phosphate ship-transfer terminal south of the city. Unfortunately, the upgraded line is not going to be available to us and therefore after a second visit to Petra or a leisurely morning at the hotel, we will travel by coach direct to Wadi Rum and visit the location made famous by the legendary “Lawrence of Arabia”, including a jeep tour. We overnight at Al-Bait Bedouin Camp, with all facilities including air conditioning and Bedouin restaurant and entertainment.
Day 9 Monday March 30: (B)
After breakfast we take the coach to Wadi Rum station for the Steam-hauled Tourist train with “Lawrence of Arabia” mock-attack” (as seen on Chris Tarrant’s “Extreme Railways” and BBC World Travel Show). We then drive through the spectacular desert and mountain scenery to Aqaba, hopefully with visit to the Aqaba Railway Depot, with an afternoon arrival at our Resort Hotel on the Red Sea coast for a relaxing evening as the sun sets behind the Egyptian coastline across the narrow sea-way.
Day 10 Tuesday March 31 (B)
We have two options today: a short city tour to include the Aqaba Fort with its giant flag and the old town, or perhaps a morning on the beach, followed by PM Transfer for the short flight from Aqaba Airport to Amman. The second option is a scenic coach return to Amman International Airport / Amman, via the Kings Highway and the Dead Sea. Overnight in Amman
Day 11 Wednesday April 1 (B)
ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$2,695
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$395
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED$800
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY JANUARY 22, 2020
*STEAM CHARTER TRAIN
*THE RED ROSE CITY OF PETRA
*CITADEL AND ROMAN THEATER OF AMMAN
*WORLD RENOWED ROMAN RUINS AT JERASH
*TOUR OF THE RAILWAY DEPOT AND WORKSHOPS
*STEAM-HAULED TOURIST TRAIN WITH LAWRENCE OF ARABIA ATTACH
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2021 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.