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'Memorandum on Persian Railways' [‎97v] (6/84)

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The record is made up of 1 file (42 folios). It was created in 20 Jun 1911. It was written in English and French. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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monopoly of railway and tramway construction in
Persia. The concession was impracticable, and it
was afterwards revoked.
There followed the Falckenhagen Concession in
1874-75 for a line from Julfa to Tabriz, the
Alleon Concession in 1878 for a line from Resht to
Teheran, a plan for an American Concession, and
one for an English Concession lor a line to I ehcran
from the Upper Karun. In 1882 a M. Boital obtained
a "roup of railway concessions which resulted in
the opening in 1888 of a railway about six miles
long from Teheran to the shrine of Shah Abdul
Azim. A second railway, about 12 miles long,
from Mahmudabad on the Caspian to the town of
A mol, was later constructed by native enterpiise,
but this railway iell into disuse, and the insigni
ficant Shah Abdul Azim railway is the only railway
that Persia now possesses.
3. A few years later a Russian named Palash-
kovskv had plans for joining the Trans-Caucasian
Railway with Tehran,and at the beginning oi
1888 a draft concession was under discussion
between the British and Persian Ciovernments foi <i
railway in the south from Mohanimerah to'Tehran.t
A line from Tehran to Bagdad via Kermanshah
was also spoken of, but no progress was made
towards railway construction in Persia, and the
year 1888 was marked by acute rivalry between
Great Britain and Russia. The position ol Great
Britain is clear from the instructions given in
September to Sir H. Drummond Wolff, the British
Minister, to the effect that he could not impress too
strongly on the Shah that the only means ol
enabling us to give him effectual support was to
improve means ol communication with the 1 ersian
The Shah, however, in the previous year, had
given an undertaking to Prince Dolgorouki, the
Russian Minister at Tehran, in the following
“ Whereas it is our sincere inclination to further
“ demonstrate our confidence and trust in His
“ Majesty the Emperor, who has always and on
“ every occasion proved his sincere inclination and
“ affection towards us, and inasmuch as it is our
“ inclination to be always in entire affection and
“ friendship with llis Majesty the Emperor, we have
“ decided not to give orders or permission to con-
“ struct railways or waterways to companies ol
“ foreign nations before consulting with llis
“Majesty the Emperor; and this advice and
“ consultation will meet with our consideration,
“ inasmuch as, should those concessions contain an
“ article or clause detrimental to Persian interests,
“ we can utilize the Emperor’s consultation
“ and advice in order to avoid it, and protect
“ ourselves against that detriment. Month of
“ Zi Hejjeh, 1304 (21st August to 18th September
“ 1887).”
Shah’s Agreement of 1887 with
British assurances to Shah of 24th
October 1888, leading to opening of the
# See Mr. Michell’s memorandum en
closed in Sir R. Morier’s Despatch No. 41,
6th February 1889.
(P. «.)
t Mr. Nicolson’s Despatch No. 7, 4th
January 1888.
(P- 29.)
Sir H D. Woltfs Despatch No. 101,
30th June 1888.
(P. 62.)
Lord Salisbury's Telegram No. 62,
10th September 1888.
(P. 149.)
Sir H. D. Wolft’s Despatch No. 201,
1st October 1888.
(P. 166.)

About this item


The memorandum outlines the development of proposals for railways in Persia between 1872 and 1911. This includes discussion of the potential advantages/disadvantages (both commercial and political) for the British in the construction of railways in Southern Persia, and the potential threat posed by the expansion of Russian railways in Northern Persia towards British India, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. . Proposals for various schemes are included, from those limited to internal routes within Persia, to schemes designed to link the rail networks of India and Russia via a Trans-Persian link. Consideration is also given to British and Russian efforts to maintain their spheres of influence in Persia, and their joint desire to resist any encroachment by Germany.

The memorandum is signed by John Edward Ferard, India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. .

The appendix (folios 123-132) contains supporting extracts from various papers (aide-mémoires, correspondence, memoranda, minutes, and published writings). This includes the following:

  • an extract from a minute by George Nathaniel Curzon, Viceroy of India, dated 4 September 1899, respecting the importance of Seistan [Sīstān] to the maintenance of British influence in Southern Persia (ff 123-124);
  • an extract from a minute by the Viceroy of India, dated 28 October 1901, respecting the potential threat of increasing Russian influence in Persia to Britain's strategic and commercial interests in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. (ff 124-125v);
  • an extract from the Anglo-Persian Agreement (31 August 1907) respecting Persia (ff 125v-126);
  • various communications between British, Persian, and Russian authorities on the topic of railway construction in Persia (ff 126-130);
  • extracts from various published sources on the subject of railways in Persia (ff 130-132).

An index to the memorandum can be found on folios 134-136. Some extracts in the main body of the memorandum, and some papers included in the appendix are in French.

Extent and format
1 file (42 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at f 95, and terminates at f 136, as it is part of a larger physical volume; these numbers are written in pencil, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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'Memorandum on Persian Railways' [‎97v] (6/84), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/C122, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 December 2019]

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