Jordan: Lawrence of ArabiaTrain Ride 1916: Raiders from the Desert
1916: The world is in turmoil. The third year of the Great War marks the beginning of the German attack on Verdun, the longest and most costly battle of WWI, while in the Arab world, the Ottoman empire is confronted by a man who is mounting a fierce revolt against the Turkish occupiers - Lawrence of Arabia.
A few years ago, the non-profit Jordan Heritage Revival Company created an incredible train ride and re-enactment show that transports visitors back into the world of Lawrence of Arabia. The aim of the company is to revive Jordan's heritage through visitor experiences that provide economic and social benefits for the local populace. For instance, the personnel on board the train are all local Bedouins.
You begin your train journey at the historic Wadi Rum train station, where you will board the heavily armed train, guarded by highly-trained Ottoman soliders. The smells of engine oil and burning coal waft across the tracks, as the steam train slowly pulls out of the station. Lean back, relax and enjoy the ride in the beautifully decorated cabins.
But be warned: The desert is full of dangers and the Bedouins have taken up arms against their oppressors. A lone camel rider appears from behind the dunes, galloping towards us. What are his intentions? Surely, waving the Arab flag so prominently must be a great offense to the Ottomans.
The Turkish soldiers on board the train seem nervous. Weapons are readied and the two machine guns aim towards the rider - and not a second too early.
This is a fully-fledged attack striking from the depths of the desert.
The guards onboard begin to fire the first rounds of bullets at the Bedouin warriors who are charging towards the train at full gallop. The odds seem completely against the poorly armed riders.
The Turkish soldiers are completely taken by surprise when suddenly, an armoured vehicle races towards the train and starts firing with its top-mounted machine gun.
Shortly after, the battle is decided and the attackers celebrate their victory.
Some of the riders jump on board the train and take a number of prisoners. Five minutes later, the Bedouins disappear into the desert, like ghosts in a sea of sand, leaving behind some clearly shaken passengers.
Some practical tips before booking this experience:
- Please be aware that this is a group activity only: The minimum number of reservations per train ride is 40 people.
- You can combine the train ride with an optional lunch or additional activities, such as horseback riding, traditional earth oven cooking or a 4x4 sunset trip.
- In order to book, go to website of the Jordan Heritage Revival Company.
The train ride starts at the historic train station near the entrance to Wadi Rum.
Bookings for the train ride have to go through the website of the Jordan Heritage Revival Company.