Letter: Rail odyssey was off-track

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The Independent Online
ROBERT FISK'S photographs of Lebanese railways were fascinating; unfortunately his text was riddled with inaccuracies ('Network Middle East', Review, 14 August). Rayak was never the terminus of the Orient Express. Winterthur is in Switzerland, not Germany - not a minor point since this demonstrates the willingness of the French-owned company that built the Beirut-Damascus line to invest in the best available contemporary Swiss technology. In other parts of the Ottoman Empire German- owned lines used only German- built stock. None of the Lebanese or Syrian coaches came from the British Raj, though Indian stock was brought to Iraq in the First World War and Palestine in the Second to assist with military operations. His last sentence confuses several historical periods. He could have added, for example, 'the days when Iraq was Mesopotamia, when Palestine was also considered a part of Syria, and when Jordan was Palestine'.

Rabbi Walter Rothschild

Leeds

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