This section is devoted to a variety of railways to be found around the world and will include both standard and narrow gauge lines


Red Lizard Railway (Tunisia) 

RED LIZARD ('Le Lézard Rouge')

Commonly voted as one of the must-do things before you die is the 'Red Lizard train', a passenger train from the 19th century that runs each day at around 10.a.m.along old mining tracks from Metlaoui Station  to Redeyef (which is about a 45 min journey) through the red and pink rocks, split by canyons of the Saharan Atlas mountains in central Tunisia.

The train and track were built in 1910 at considerable expense in terms of the state finances and human lives by the Tunisian Governor mainly in order for the Bey of Tunis (the King of Tunisia) to travel in grand style to his winter palace in the oasis town of Tozeur (about 45 km (25 miles) from Metlaoui and largely to impress visiting foreign dignitaries. There was originally only one complete train, built in Paris in 1910 which was an official gift from France to the Bey of Tunisia when the country was a French protectorate. With all five carriages painted deep-red it was colloquially named 'Le Lézard Rouge' (The Red Lizard) by the oppressed and impoverished Tunisian people and was seen as a symbol of both the emperor's power and extravagant Western-influenced life-style and the French imperialism. The 'Lizard' also used to serve the phosphate mines from Metlaoui, but now it is mainly a tourist attraction. Today, this is the only way to visit the gorges of Selja in the Atlas Mountains on the border of the Sahara Desert in the south. Passing through wonderful scenery this old fashioned train will take you on a journey through stony desert landscapes, mountains tunnels, steel bridges, water springs, deep gorges, finally coming to a stop in a green oasis. A fantastic adventure.