CEL - Lebanese Railways CEL - Chemin de Fer de l'Etat Libanais
Lebanese State Railways

Control panel in commuter car at Furn el Shebbak, 2002.


  • 1891: French concession to build Beirut-Damascus railway awarded to the Societè des Chemins de fer Ottomans Economiques de Beyrouth-Damas-Hauran.
  • 1895: Beirut-Damascus 1.05m railway opened in August.
  • 1895: 1.05m coastal railway (Tramway Libanais) started which reached Maameltein by 1908.
  • 1893: Concession granted for Damascus-Aleppo railway, later amended to Riyaq-Aleppo with a branch to Tripoli. Company name changed to Societè des Chemins de fer Damas-Hama et prolongements (DHP).
  • 1902: Riyaq-Baalbak opened 19th June.
  • 1906: Baalbak-Aleppo opened.
  • 1911: Homs- Tripoli opened.
  • 1917: Homs-Tripoli line removed for use elsewhere.
  • 1941: British forces in Palestine start Haifa-Beirut railway instead of proposed Haifa-Riyaq line which was abandoned as too difficult.
  • 1942: Regular military traffic Haifa-Beirut started on 24th August.
  • 1942: Beirut-Tripoli completed December 18.
  • 1946: Lebanese government purchase the Naqoura-Tripoli line for £5 million to be run by DHP.
  • 1961: CEL - Chemin de Fer de l'Etat Libanais formed.
  • 1976: Beirut-Damascus closed by civil war.
  • 1993: Commuter service Dowra-Jbeil closes.
  • 1997. Last cement train from Chekka to Beirut.
  • 2002: The Polish diesel locomotive for the Chekka cement train still being run in its shed at the Furn el Shebbak stockyards once a month.