El-Alamein is located about 66 miles (110 Kilometers) east of Alexandria and takes its name from the twin peaked hill known as Tell al-Alamein, upon which it stands. In 1942 there were just a few buildings clustered around the station, and it had no strategic significance in itself. However this general area, hemmed in by the Mediterranean to the north and the Qattara Depression to the south, presented the British and Commonwealth forces in 1942 with an ideal defensive position. Here at last was a front line with secure flanks, short lines of supply and communication, spanning a distance of just 40 miles and protected by hastily expanded minefields. With Rommel's advance towards Alexandria blunted at the First Battle of El Alamein (and his later pre-emptive offensive stopped at the Battle of Alam el Halfa) the allies were finally given the breathing room they needed to begin planning offensive rather than defensive operations.
Today the Rail Stop at El Alamein has been replaced by a much more modern building further down the track and the original building is in very poor condition. It is still a focal point for battlefield tour groups and there are tentative plans (in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum) to restore the building. Nearby there is a war museum with collectibles from the Battle of El Alamein and other North African battles as well as Italian and German military cemeteries on Tell el-Eisa Hill just outside of town.
I chose a 6mm model of the Station made by Timecast from their North African and Middle Eastern Buildings collection. I've bought and painted some of the other models in the range and was impressed with the quality of the casting. Timecast use an acrylic polymer/high density gypsum mix for their buildings, which gives a high level of definition and detail. It looks and feels like it is made from plaster but this material is much tougher and less likely to break. I have found the buildings to be quite absorbent, especially with the first coat of paint, so it is essential to prime these models properly before proceeding any further. Having said that this is a wonderful material to work with and I am surprised it isn't more widely used.
|El Alamein train station in 1942|
|El Alamein train station today|
|The platform side of the building|
|Entrance to the ticket hall|