(Persia Digest) – “Smokey Car” is the name given to a train which operated during the Qajar era between Tehran and Shahr-e Rey south of the capital. Recent restoration works by the city council in southern Tehran have now revealed the old railway tracks for the train.
The historic tracks were discovered under a pavement next to Imamzadeh Abdollah Shrine and cemetery in Shahr-e Rey. Forty meters of the foundations for the railway line from the Qajar era were unearthed during works by the council.
Mohsen Sheikh Aleslami, Deputy for the Cultural Heritage Organization of Tehran Province, has said that the first step is to identify the trajectory and proceed to restore the line. The Smokey Car which used to run in this route will be placed on the tracks as a symbol of the old days to restore the identity of the line.
He added that the unearthed tracks identify Tehran’s modernization and industrialization. He emphasized: “This can also act as part of the urban transport identity for our region.”
Persia Digest (PD) reports that the Smokey Car belonging to the Qajar era is currently kept in Shahr-e Rey metro depot. This was the name given to the first railway train connecting old Tehran to Shahr-e Rey. It was named as such for the steam emanating from the steam engine.
The tracks were laid during Nasser-e-Din Shah’s rule in 1882 and concession was given to a Belgian company. It can be said that the Smokey Car was Tehran’s first tramway line.
When it first began its run, children used to throw stones at it. It was not accepted by the citizens and the Belgian company filed for bankruptcy soon. The tramway was entrusted to the archives of history in Tehran.
It stopped running in the 60s. Part of the steam engine is now resting in the Shahr-e Ray metro depot and part of it is Mellat Park in northern Tehran.
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