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While all manner of historical, natural and culinary attractions are available to visitors in the Bekaa Valley, perhaps none is so eerie, strangely peaceful or sad as Riyak's abandoned train station.The station's relentless traffic and the state-of-the-art factory propelled the area into the Industrial Revolution, and by 1900 Riyak's population rose from less than 100 people to some 3,000 .Maalouf said Kaiser Wilhelm II, during his famous 1898 trip to Baalbek, remarked that Riyak was the capital of railways in the Middle East.According to Maalouf the people of Riyak helped the slippery colonel escape, but held back from assisting him bomb the railways because the network held personal significance for them.The condition of Riyak's trains is of grave concern to Maalouf, whose NGO has twice had a proposal to turn the station and factory into a museum ignored by the Railways and Public Transport Authority.Maalouf insisted that Train Train is ready to launch a crowd-funding scheme to get the ball rolling on developing Riyak into a museum whenever he gets the go ahead.
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