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The Revival

5IEAP - 1085
modern University For Business and Science with a certified degree from Cardiff Metropolitan University / lb Lebanon
1 members
Tamara  Eid

A trip back in time on Lebanon disappearing railway
You don't know how great our country was until you dig into the history of its
railways.
Once you do this you will understand what is missing.
After the civil war the Lebanese people became victims of a paralyzed country.
Not only the railways have stopped functioning but also its history has been left to
decay by time. A bunch of Lebanese gathered on a mission to save the past and
build the future of the Lebanese Railways. Through research it have given credibility
and encouraged me to push forward with this mission. It would be a reminder
that 125 years ago Lebanon had the best transportation system in the Middle
East; we then had something that every country in the world is now looking for:
"Sustainable Transport." Our main objective is to see Lebanon served with a
network of passenger and public train. As we all know, we firmly believe in the
enormous benefits the railways could bring to modern Lebanon.
The appointment a few years previously of a new director general for the Railway
and Public Transportation Authority, Ziad Nasr, raised more than a few eyebrows.
Since the railways were closed in 1976 during the civil war, the idea of a passenger
or freight train network in Lebanon seems but a fantasy to most, and public sentiment
toward the authority, which still employs 350 workers, is generally somewhat
negative when it is hard to see its existence justified.
Railway is one of public transport mode of land transportation. Railways have a
key position in society. They are a very old and important phenomenon in the transport
system. They also played an important role in the industrialization and development
of the modern world. Railways as mass public transport mode have
unique characteristics. It can carry passengers in the amount of mass at a relatively
less expensive cost. It is also energy efficient, land saving, high safety level, environmentally
friendly, comfortable, adaptive to technology development, and free
from traffic jam. Those characteristic makes railway primary public transportation.
The most common problem of railways is the lack of finance that causes deterioration
of infrastructure quality. This influences the quality of service; as a result the
number of customers gradually decreases. Finally, that condition will influence
government revenue and cause accumulation of finance problem which is identified
as a causal loop problem.
Railway is different from the development and maintenance of road, including
bridge, terminal and road sign, which are implemented by the government. Lebanese
railway should manage all of them by the help of the government. The costs
for investment and railway facility maintenance are very expensive, much more
expensive than that of road transport modes. However, for the government organization,
this is not a proper measurement the worthwhileness scheme.
Government can also expect to consider other (social) benefits, such as:
1. Reduction of accidents that usually occur when the traffics shift from road to
railway modes which is relatively safer.
2. Time saving for passengers if they use railway mode compared to road
mode.
3. Reduction of traffic congestion that is able to avoid the cost requirement for
new
road construction.
The external benefit of railway mode is very significant, for example, the fuel
consumption per train passenger is only 0.006 liters per kilometer, Compared to
the two passengers car that consumes 0,251iter per passenger kilometer or bus
0,01 liter per passenger kilometer. With an assumption that commercial passengers
use cars and economic passengers use buses, the railway mode will be
able to save about 200 million litre of fuel yearly.
In this case, there are other external benefits such as pollution reduction and
land saving.
Based on the facts, the support of government and other funders is an important
part of shaping what the railway delivers, and always will be. Government's
role is central, in assessing what the country wants from its railway, and the
services and capacity which are in the interests of promoting growth, connectivity
and environmental benefits, which may not be profitable for the market to
deliver. This contrasts with the potential for rail businesses to shape solutions
that reflect their expert understanding of operations, planning, technology, innovation,
customer satisfaction and growth.
So ... Lets put this together and remind ourselves what kind of development and
infrastructure we once had! It was 120 years ago when the first train departed
in Lebanon.
"Hopefully now the authorities have realized that they need the railways and this
is why i came to work on the restoration of the train system transportation.
Who knows, maybe in the next years we'll see a train will cross the city bridge
again."

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