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I have been reading old copies of the Railway Magazine from the 1950s and 1960s. The old small format magazines somehow seem more attractive than the glossy larger format modern magazines, perhaps that is a sign of ageing!
In the January 1963 edition of the magazine there is a long article about the railways of Iran which is based on a visit in 1961 to Iran by M.H. Baker MA.
Until the 1930s, Iran was relatively isolated, but from around 1865 various European Countries had sought concessions to construct railways but the Imperial government continued to value isolation above integration.
Baker says that, “Shah Naser-ed-Din … was so delighted with railways that he determined to have one built in Iran.” [1: p21] Shah Naser-ed-Din reigned from 1831 to 1896. He was the first modern Iranian monarch to formally visit Europe. He wrote travelogues about his trips, that also were translated in foreign languages. 
Shah Naser-ed-Din called on a French engineer and concession hunter, Fabius Boital, to build a line from Tehran to the shrine of Abdul Aziz at Rey, 6 miles south of the city. He also received a concession to build tramways in Tehran.  It seems that he was probably short of money and sold “both of these concessions to a Belgian company named “La Société Anonyme des Chemins de Fer et Tramways en Perse,” founded in Brussels on 17 May 1887. The company had a capital of 2 million francs.” [6: p865]
The rail concession allowed the Belgian company to construct and operate a railway line from Qazvin to Qom through Tehran and Rey for 99 years. [7: p45] The principal draw was the number of pilgrims who visited the shrine of Abdul Aziz. However, although “the large number of pilgrims (over 300,000 per annum) who visited the shrine … promised handsome returns for the company, its executives wanted much more: a railway line connecting the Caspian Sea and the south, and passing through Tehran.  This did not materialize because speedy means of communications connecting the north and south of Persia ran contrary to both British and Russian interests.” 
The line, as built, had a track gauge of 800mm it was approximately 5.5 miles in length and had two branch lines of 2.5 miles in length. The branch lines connected the main line to some limestone quarries southeast of Tehran. The mainline was opened in 1888, the branch lines in 1893. [9: p625][10: p14]
Construction of the line was difficult as all equipment had to be transferred from Antwerp to Batum on the Black Sea by sea, “then by land through the Transcaucasian Railway to Baku, then by sea again to Anzali on the Caspian Sea, and from there once more by land and on the back of animals, through difficult terrain, to Tehran through Qazvin. … In order to minimize the difficulties involved in the cumbersome process of shipping from Belgium to Persia, [the company] established a workshop in Baku for packing the material from Belgium, bought animals from Tbilisi for transportation, purchased part of the rails from Russia, built boats for river transport, and employed local workers for maintaining the roads.”  These measures proved very costly. [11: p5-6]
“The Tehran terminal, a building in the European style, was situated in the southeast of the capital, near the Darvāza-ye Khorasan Street, some 150 metres from the main bazaar. There were two waiting rooms, one on each end, one for men and the other for women, while in the middle of the building there was a hall for the Shah. Separate wagons were allocated for men and women. The latter formed a considerable part of the line’s clientele. The line itself passed over a 26 metre-long bridge and a plain covered by trees. It was operated by a staff of five Europeans and sixty Persians. 
There was initially a real reluctance among the local population to use what they saw as a fire-breathing monster. “The Belgian company, which did not anticipate such a financially disastrous outcome, complained to the Shah. In order to allay public fears, the shah ordered high-ranking individuals and the commanders of the army to travel with him by train. … Following their example, local passengers, including clerics, began to use the train. But a number of factors caused a decline in the number of passengers: First, the growing number of fatal accidents involved in operating the line; second, the train was labeled ‘Satan’s work’ by clerics, after one of them was run over by it; third, the short distance that it covered meant that many people continued to prefer the leisurely pace of walking or riding on donkeys; and fourth, the r