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Comparison of standard gauge (blue) and one common narrow gauge (red) width.
A narrow gauge railway (or narrow gauge railroad) is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) or less.


Since narrow gauge railways are usually built with smaller radius curves and smaller structure gauges, they can be substantially cheaper to build, equip, and operate than standard gauge or broad gauge railways, particularly in mountainous terrain. The lower costs of narrow gauge railways mean they are often built to serve industries and communities where the traffic potential would not justify the costs of building a standard or broad gauge line. Narrow gauge railways also have specialized use in mines and other environments where a very small structure gauge makes a very small loading gauge necessary. On the other hand, standard gauge or broad gauge railways generally have a greater haulage capacity and allow greater speeds than narrow gauge systems.

Historically, many narrow gauge railways were built as part of specific industrial enterprises and were primarily industrial railways rather than general carriers. Some common uses for these industrial narrow gauge railways were mining, logging, construction, tunnelling, quarrying, and the conveying of agricultural products. Extensive narrow gauge networks were constructed in many parts of the world for these purposes. Significant sugarcane railways still operate in Cuba, Fiji, Java, the Philippines and in Queensland in Australia. Narrow gauge railway equipment remains in common use for the construction of tunnels.

The other significant reason for narrow gauge railways to be constructed was to take advantage of reduced construction costs in mountainous or difficult terrain, hence the national railway systems of countries such as Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand are primarily or solely narrow gauge. Non-industrial narrow gauge mountain railways are or were common in the Rocky Mountains of the USA and the Pacific Cordillera of Canada, in Mexico, Switzerland, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, India, and Costa Rica. Another country with a notable national railway built to narrow gauge is South Africa where the "Cape gauge" of 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) is the most common gauge.
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2 ft (610 mm) gauge tracks

History of narrow gauge railways

The earliest recorded railway is shown in the De re metallica of 1556, which shows a mine in the Czech Republic with a railway of approximately 2 ft (610 mm) gauge. During the 16th century railways were mainly restricted to hand-pushed narrow gauge lines in mines throughout Europe. During the 17th century mine railways were extended to provide transportation above ground. These lines were industrial, connecting mines with nearby transportation points, usually canals or other waterways. These railways were usually built to the same narrow gauge as the mine railways they developed from. [1]

Advantages of narrow gauge

Narrow gauge railways usually cost less to build because they are usually lighter in construction, using smaller cars and locomotives (smaller loading gauge) as well as smaller bridges, smaller tunnels (smaller structure gauge) and tighter curves. Narrow gauge is thus often used in mountainous terrain, where the savings in heavy civil engineering work can be substantial. It is also used in very sparsely populated areas where the potential demand is too low for the building of broader gauge railways to be economically viable. This is the case in most of Australia and Southern Africa, where extremely old soils can support only population densities too low for standard gauge to be viable.

There are many narrow gauge street tramways, particularly in Europe where 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge tramways are common. Narrow gauge allows even tighter turning than 4 ftin (1435 mm) gauge or gauge in restricted city streets. The tighter turning circle also make balloon loops at the end of routes easier, which in turn allows the use of unidirectional trams with a driver's cab at one end only, and doors on one side, and thus more space for passengers. Note, the Toronto streetcar system has uni-directional trams and off-street loops.

Extensive narrow gauge railway systems served the front-line trenches of both sides in World War I. After the end of the war the surplus equipment from these railways created a small boom in the building of narrow gauge railways in Europe.

For temporary railroads that will be removed after a short-term need, such as for construction, the logging industry and the mining industry, a narrow gauge railroad is substantially cheaper and easier to install and remove. However, this use of railroads is almost extinct thanks to the capabilities of modern trucks.

In many countries narrow gauge railroads were built as "feeder" or "branch" lines to feed traffic to more important standard gauge railroads, due to their lower construction costs. The choice was often not between a narrow gauge railroad and a standard gauge one, but between a narrow gauge railroad and none at all.

Disadvantages of narrow gauge

Narrow gauge railroads cannot interchange equipment like freight and passenger cars freely with the standard gauge or broad gauge railroads they link with, unless they exchange bogies. That means that narrow gauge lines have a built-in cost of transshipping people and freight to the mainline railway system. The cost of transshipment can be a substantial drain on the finances of a railroad because it involves expensive and time consuming manual labour or substantial capital expenditure. Some bulk commodities, such as coal, ore and gravel, can be mechanically transshipped, but this still incurs time penalties and these mechanical devices are often complex to maintain.

The solution to the problem of transshipment is bogie exchange between cars. Another solution to this problem is the roll-block system. Although successfully deployed in countries such as Germany, this technique came too late (??) for the majority of narrow gauge lines. Transfer of containers is also an option.

The problem of interchangeability is less serious for countries that have a large system of narrow gauge lines, such as northern Spain, and does not exist in those countries in which the narrow gauge is the "standard", such as New Zealand, South Africa and the Australian island state of Tasmania.

The problem of interchangeability is more serious in North America because a continent-wide system of freight car interchange developed. All the standard gauge railways in North America use the same standard couplings and air brakes, which means that freight cars can be freely interchanged between railways from Northern Canada to Southern Mexico. Railways who need more freight cars can simply borrow them from other railways during peak periods, while the railways who own the cars receive payments for them at rates set by common agreement. Peak demand, particularly for grain shipment, occurs in different parts of North America at different times, so freight cars are shuffled back and forth across the continent to wherever they are needed. Motive power can also be interchanged, which sometimes results in Mexican locomotives pulling Canadian freight cars and vice versa.

Narrow gauge railways could not participate in this system, which meant that they usually had to own several times as much rolling stock as standard gauge railways, and they did not receive any cash flow for surplus equipment during periods of low demand. Since most narrow gauge railways were short of money to begin with, this eventually resulted in nearly all North American narrow gauge railways either going bankrupt or being bought up by profitable standard gauge railways.

Narrow gauge lines were very vulnerable to competition from trucks. The railroads' advantage has always been economy of scale and distance, and the transshipment requirement removed that. Trucks have no such transshipment problem and are more flexible in operation.

Another problem with narrow gauge railroads is that they lacked room to grow - their cheap construction was bought at the price of being engineered only for their initial traffic demands. While a standard or broad gauge railroad could more easily be upgraded to handle heavier, faster traffic, many narrow gauge railroads were impractical to improve. Speeds and loads hauled could not increase, so traffic density was significantly limited.

Narrow gauge railroads can be built to handle increased speed and loading, but at the price of removing most of the narrow gauge's cost advantage over standard or broad gauge.

Because of the reduced stability of narrower gauge, narrow gauge trains are not able to run at nearly the same high speeds as those networks with broader gauges unless the tracks are aligned with greater precision. However in Japan and Queensland, Australia, recent permanent way improvements have allowed trains on 1067 mm gauge tracks to run at 160 km/h (100 mph) and higher. Queensland Rail's tilt train is presently the fastest train in Australia, despite the gauge it runs on. Standard gauge or broad gauge trains can run at up to 320 km/h (200 mph); this is most evident in the case of the Japanese Shinkansen, a network of standard gauge lines built solely for high speed rail in a country where narrow gauge is the predominant standard.

Exceptions to the rule

The heavy duty 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) narrow gauge railways in South Africa and Queensland, Australia, show that if the track is built to a heavy-duty standard, a performance almost as good as a standard gauge line is possible. 200-car trains operate on the Sishen-Saldanha railroad in South Africa, and high-speed tilt-trains in Queensland (see below). Another example of a heavy-duty narrow gauge line is EFVM in Brazil. 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge, it has over-100-pound rail and a loading gauge almost as large as US non-excess-height lines. It sees 4000 hp locomotives and 200+ car trains. Narrow gauge lines are more limited in the capacity and stability of their trains. Similarly, standard and broad gauge lines can be built cheaply to light railway standards with short radii (tight curves). The trains operate at lower speeds and with lower capacities. These lines were often built instead of narrow gauge railways.

Gauges used

There are many narrow gauges in use or formerly used between 15 in (381 mm) gauge and 4 ft 8 in (1422 mm) gauge. They fall into three broad categories

Medium gauge railways

The wider narrow gauges are the more common; in those parts of the world where the railroads were built to British standards, this meant most commonly a gauge of 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm), while those built to American standards were normally 3 ft (914 mm). Railways built to European metric standards were most commonly of 1 m (3 ft 338 in) and 900 mm (2 ft 1112 in) gauge.

These larger narrow gauges are capable of hauling most traffic with little difficulty and are thus suitable for large-scale "common carrier" applications, although their ultimate speed and load limits are lower than for standard gauge.

Railways built on gauges between 3 ft (914 mm) and 4 ftin (1435 mm) are sometimes referred to as "medium-gauge" railways

Two-foot gauge railways

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A 2 ft (610 mm) gauge train on the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway in England.

The next natural "grouping" of narrow gauge railroads covers the spread from 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) to just below 3 ft (914 mm), although the majority are between 2 ft (610 mm) and 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in) (the conversions are usually loosely expressed in the U.K. as 2ft = 60 cm and 760 mm = 2ft 6 in). These lightweight lines can be built at a substantial cost saving over medium or standard gauge railways, but are very restricted in their carrying capacity. The majority of these were built in mountainous areas and most were to carry mineral traffic from mines to ports or standard gauge railroads. Many were industrial lines rather than common carriers, though there were exceptions such as the extensive 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in) lines built in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the "Maine two footer" lines in New England. The most common metric gauges in this group are 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in) and 750 mm (2 ft 512 in).

Minimum gauge railways

Gauges below 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) were rare, but did exist. In Britain, Sir Arthur Heywood developed 15 in (381 mm) gauge estate railways, while in France Decauville produced a range of industrial railways running on 400 mm (1534 in) and 500 mm (1 ft 734 in) tracks, most commonly in such restricted environments such as underground mine railways. A number of 18 in (457 mm) gauge railways were built in Britain to serve ammunition depots and other military facilities, particularly during the First World War.

Narrow gauge railways of 1 ft 1034 in (578 mm) gauge and less are known as minimum gauge railways.

Narrow gauge worldwide



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Train of the Mariazellerbahn in Lower Austria
The first railway in Austria was the narrow gauge line from Gmunden in the Salzkammergut to Budweis, now in the Czech Republic, this was gauge. Some two dozen lines were built in 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in) gauge , a few in 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge. The first was the Steyrtalbahn. Others were built by provincial governments, some lines are still in common carrier use and a number of others are preservation projects. The tramway network in Innsbruck is also metre gauge; in Linz the rather unusual gauge of 900 mm (2 ft 1112 in) is in use.


From the 19th into the early 20th there were many narrow gauge [760 mm (2 ft 5910 in)] railways in Bulgaria, but today, only 245 km remain.


1 children narrow gauge railways and 36 peat railways. Children railways is located in Minsk, gauge 750 mm (2 ft 512 in). Locos - TU2.

Occasionally, narrow gauge railways can still be found in some places of Belarus, for example for transportation of peat.


The Vicinal or Buurtspoor were a system of narrow gauge local railways or tramways covering the whole country and having a greater routage than the mainline railway system. They were 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge and the system included electrified city lines as well as rural lines using steam locomotives and railcars; half of the system was electrified. Many lines carried freight. Only the coastal line and two routes near Charleroi are still in commercial use, four museums hold significant collections of former SNCV/NMBS rolling stock, one of which is the ASVi museum in Thuin. The tramway networks in Antwerp and Gent are also metre gauge.

Czech Republic

Several lines were built in the nineteenth century. The most notable lines are Obrataň-Jindřichův Hradec-Nová Bystřice and Třemešná ve Slezsku-Osoblaha, that are still in operation.


There exist 4 museums lines and some peat lines. The museum in Lavassaare is very famous. It has big collection of steam and diesel locomotives. The gauge is 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) and the track is 2 km long. To learn more about this museum see: Lavassaare museumrailway. There is a museum with a 750 mm gauge, 500 m long, line in Avinurme. In this museum there are 1 locomotive and some wagons. An underground museum with a short electric line is located in Kivioli. A former military railway line with a 750 mm gauge is located on Naissaar Island.


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Lovisa-Wesijärvi Railway (LWR) 2-8-0 steam locomotive number 6 (built in 1909) in running order on Jokioinen Museum Railway, Finland.
The vast majority of Finnish narrow gauge railways were owned and operated by private companies. There are only a few instances where narrow gauge railways were in direct connection with each other, and those interchanges did not last for long. The railways never formed a regional rail traffic network, but were only focused on maintaining connections between the national broad gauge railway network and the off-line industries. One of the longest common carriers was the Lovisa-Wesijärvi railway (1900–1960) that operated a 80-kilometre (50-mile) line between Lahti and Loviisa. Other notable ones were the Hyvinkää–Karkkila railway that operated a 46-kilometre (28-mile) line, and the Jokioinen railway that operated a 23-kilometre (1412-mile) line until 1974, being the last common carrier narrow gauge railway.

Other lines were notably shorter. The common gauges were 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) and 750 mm (2 ft 512 in), with a few railways built with 785 mm (2 ft 6910 in) and 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauges.

Narrow gauge tourist and heritage lines of 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in), 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) and 900 mm (2 ft 1112 in) gauge still operate.


The French National Railways used to run a considerable number of 1 m (3 ft 338 in) lines, a few of which still operate mostly in tourist areas, such as the St Gervais-Vallorcine (Alps) and the "Train Jaune" (yellow train) in the Pyrenees. The original French scheme was that every sous-prefecture should be rail connected. Extensive near 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) gauge lines were also built for the sugar-beet industry in the north often using ex-military equipment after the First World War. Decauville was a famous French manufacturer of industrial narrow gauge railway equipment and equipped one of the most extensive regional 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) narrow gauge railway, the Chemins de Fer du Calvados. Corsica has a narrow gauge network of two lines following the coast line, that are connected by one line crossing the island through highly mountaineous terrain.


A number of narrow gauge lines survive, largely as a consequence of German reunification, in the former East Germany where some of them form part of the public transport system as active commercial carriers. Most extensive of those still employing steam traction is the Harz mountain group of metre-gauge lines, the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen. Other notable lines are the Zittau-Oybin-Jonsdorf line in Saxony, the Mollibahn and the Rügensche Kleinbahn on the Isle of Rügen on the Baltic coast and the Radebeul-Radeburg line in the suburbs of Dresden. Although most rely on the tourist trade, in some areas they provide significant employment as steam traction is particularly labour intensive.

see also Narrow gauge railways in Saxony


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A bridge on the Pelion Railway, Greece

The Peloponnese narrow gauge network length is about 914 km. Of this, 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge is used for 892 km. This is the network that connects major cities in the Peloponnese. The remaining 22 km form the Diakofton-Kalavryta rack railway, which uses 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) gauge. The Peloponnese network has suffered various setbacks, ranging from the abandonment of entire lines (such as the Pyrgos-Katakolon railway) to inefficient management on part of the public Greek railway operator, OSE, which resulted in poor quality of services and rolling stock). Currently major restoration works are carried out, which have resulted in parts of the line having been closed. Additionally, the reactivation of certain lines that were closed down during the latter half of the 20th century is planned, mainly the Pyrgos-Katakolon line and in parts of western Greece (around Agrinion and Messologgi). Another small railway that uses narrow gauge 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) is the Mt. Pelion railway, originally from Volos to Milies. Currently parts of the line are operational during the summer, mainly for excursions. There was also a metre gauge network in Thessaly. This has now been abandoned, and trains use standard gauge tracks. However, the old narrow gauge tracks remain in place, so that occasional special excursion trains use them. Generally, the narrow gauges 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) in Diakofto-Kalavryta line and 600 mm in Volos-Milies (the current real line is Lechonia-Milies, since the part Volos-Lechonia was abandoned) are seasonal railroads for excursional purposes. But the 1,000 mm network of Peloponnese is a passenger and commercial line. Thus, a renovation work has started since several months before to construct a modern 1,435 mm network in Peloponnese and/or rebuild the one-century old 1,000 mm tracks.


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Széchenyi Museum Railway in Nagycenk
The former Kingdom boasted a narrow gauge network thousands of kilometres in length, most of it using 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in) gauge and constructed between 1870 and 1920. Landlords, mines, agricultural and forest estates established their own branch lines which, as they united into regional networks, increasingly played a role in regional passenger traffic. Following the Treaty of Trianon some railways were cut by the new border, many remained on the territory of Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. For a lack of intact roads, following World War II in many places narrow-gauge railway was the only reasonable way to get around. In 1968 the Communist government started to implement a policy to dismantle the narrow-gauge network in favour of road traffic. Freight haulage on the few remaining lines continued to decline until 1990 from when a patchwork of railways was gradually taken over by associations and forest managements for tourist purposes. State Railways operate narrow-gauge railways at Nyíregyháza and Kecskemét that continue to play a role in regional transport. Children aged 10 to 14 provide services at the Budapest Children's Railway.

See also: Narrow gauge railways in today's Hungary


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Guiness brewery locomotive

Several 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge systems once existed in Ireland. In County Donegal an extensive network existed, with two companies operating from Derry – the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway (L&LSR) and the County Donegal Railways (CDRJC). Well known was the West Clare Railway – in County Clare, which saw diesel locomotion before closure. The Cavan & Leitrim Railway (C&LR) operated in what is now the border area of County Cavan and County Leitrim. Some smaller narrow gauge routes also existed in County Antrim and also County Cork – notably the Cork Blackrock & Passage Railway.

Apart from small heritage venues, the Irish narrow gauge today only survives in the bogs of the Midlands as part of Bord na Móna's extensive industrial network for transporting harvested peat to distribution centres or power plants.

See also: History of rail transport in Ireland


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Railcar on the Rittnerbahn

Narrow gauge railways in Italy are (or were) mainly build with gauge, with some 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge lines and with a few other gauges.

In Sardinia, a network of narrow gauge lines (950 mm) was built, to complement the standard-gauge main network which covered the main cities and ports. The lines were:

Of the lines which are still present, only
still carry regular passenger services, operated by Ferrovie della Sardegna (Railways of Sardinia). The others only operate a scenic tourist service known as Trenino verde (small green train)

In Sicily, too, some narrow gauge lines (950 mm) operated, the most important of which was the Castelvetrano-Porto Empedocle. All those lines are closed.

In Trentino only narrow gauge lines (1000 mm) from Trento to Malè and Marilleva are still operating.

Between Naples and Sorrento, around the base of Mt. Vesuvius, the Circumvesuviana railway operates frequent services on narrow gauge (950 mm) tracks.

Isle of Man

Both main railways in the Isle of Man are of 3 ft (914 mm) gauge. The Isle of Man Steam Railway to the southwest is operated largely as a tourist attraction but the Manx Electric Railway to the northeast is a commercially operated railway system though its operation is closer to that of a tramway than a railway. The Snaefell Mountain Railway, climbs the island's main peak and has a gauge of 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm); it is the sole operating Fell Incline Railway System in the world.


There exist 1 public, 1 museum and some industrial peat railways. Public narrow gauge railway are 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) gauge and are around 30 km long. They join Gulbene and Aluksne. More - [3] . 2 trains per day. The museum railway is located in Ventspils. The gauge is 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) and the length is a 2 km circle. The locomotives are former "Brigadelok" steam locomotives. The peat companies mainly use 750 mm, but there also exist gauge and other 600 mm gauge railways.


158.8 km of 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) narrow gauge lines remain, although only 68.4 km of them (serving five stations) are regularly used, employing 12 locomotives. They are included in the Registry of Immovable Cultural Heritage Sites of Lithuania. More about this line: [4] . There also still exist many peat factories, which have private narrow gauge railways for transportation peat from field to factory.


In Norway, a number of main lines were in the 19th century built with narrow gauge, 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm), to save cost in a sparsely populated mountainous country. This included Norway's first own long-distance line, Rørosbanen, connecting Oslo and Trondheim, 1877. Some secondary railways also had this gauge. These railways have been rebuilt to standard gauge or closed down. Some private railways had 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) and one had 1 m (3 ft 338 in). A few railways partly still are operated as museum railways, specifically Thamshavnbanen, Urskog-Hølandsbanen and Setesdalsbanen. The tramway in Trondheim, GrÃ¥kallbanen is also narrow gauge.


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Kolejka Parkowa Maltanka - 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) gauge in Poznań
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The 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) Narrow Gauge Railway in Żnin - the steam locomotive Px38-805 called "Leon"
There are hundreds of kilometres of 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in), 750 mm (2 ft 512 in), 785 mm, and 1 m (3 ft 338 in) narrow gauge lines in Poland. The metre gauge lines are mostly found in the northwest part of the country in Pomerania, while 785 mm lines are found only in the Upper Silesia region. 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) is the most commonly used narrow gauge; it is used, for example, in the Rogów Narrow Gauge Railway (Rogowska Kolej Wąskotorowa). Some narrow gauge lines in Poland still operate as common carriers (for example the lines operated by SKPL, the Association of Local Railway Haulage)[5], while others survive as tourist attractions. One of the finest of the latter is the 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) narrow gauge railway (Żnińska Kolej Powiatowa) running from Żnin via Wenecja (Polish Venice) and famous Biskupin to Gąsawa in the Pałuki region. Railway tradtions of Pałuki date back to July 1894 when the first two lines were opened.

In the past, there have also been 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in), 800 mm (2 ft 7 in) and 900 mm (2 ft 1112 in) lines. A 900 mm (2 ft 1112 in) recreational line 4.2 km long still operates in the Amusement-Recreation Park in Chorzów, Upper Silesia. A similar 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) line, Kolejka Parkowa Maltanka, operates in Poznań. Some of Poland's narrow gauge railways are maintained by volunteers; one organization dedicated to preserving narrow gauge railways is the FPKW, the Polish Narrow Gauge Railways Foundation [6].

There are many 750 mm railways operating regular tourist trains in the 2007 season. These railways are:

Jedrzejów-Pinczów (runs Sundays August 5th to September 9th; leaves Jedrzejow 10.00, returns 18.00; frequently hauled by a Px48 steam locomotive);

Przeworsk-Dynów (runs Saturdays and Sundays in August, Sundays only in September; leaves Przeworsk 9.00, returns 17.00; an immensely picturesque line in the foothills of the Carpathians, passing through Poland's only narrow-gauge tunnel);

Krosniewice narrow gauge railway (regular passenger trains run on weekdays from September 3rd from Krosniewice to Dabrowice Kujawskie, Krzewie and Ostrowy; moreover, all year round on Thursday mornings there is a special train to Wielka Wies Kujawska, operated by a historical railcar type Mbxd1);

Sroda Wielkopolska-Zaniemysl (runs August 5th, 12th and 19th; leaves Sroda 10.00, returns 17.00; all trains are hauled by a Px48 steam locomotive, and there are many attractions for tourists during the excursion);

Stare Bojanowo-Wielichowo (regular passenger trains run on weekdays from Stare Bojanowo to Smigiel, frequently hauled by a Px48 steam locomotive; on weekdays during the school year there are also railbus services from Smigiel to Wielichowo);

Elk-Sypitki (runs Wednesdays and Saturdays August 1st-29th; leaves Elk 10.00, returns 14.30; frequently hauled by a Px48 steam locomotive);

Naleczów-Karczmiska (runs August 12th, 26th, September 2nd, 9th, 23rd, October 7th, 21st; leaves Naleczów 10.15, returns 15.15; at Karczmiska there is a bonfire and entertainment for passengers);

Rogów-Gluchów (runs Sundays August 5th to September 29th; leaves Rogów 13.00, returns 16.00; trains are operated by a unique diesel locomotive type Lyd1)


Portugal had hundreds of km of 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge railways, including: Linha do Porto à Póvoa e Famalicão - Closed. Some of the old trackbed is now used by the Oporto's Metropolitan railcars. Linha de Guimarães - Closed between Guimarães and Fafe, converted into a bike way. The rest is now broad gauge. Linha do Tâmega. Linha do Corgo. Linha do Tua. Linha do Sabor. Linhas do Vale do Vouga. Linha do Dão.

At least one passenger service known as the Linha do Tâmega is still in operation. It runs between Livração and Amarante in the District of Porto and runs near the River Tâmega.


In Russia, narrow gauge is most often 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) or 1 m (3 ft 338 in). 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge is found only in the southern part of Sakhalin, where railroads were built by the Japanese. A complete list of Russian and other ex-Soviet Narrow Gauge railways.


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Čierny Hron Railway at the station in Čierny Balog

Bratislava municipal transport system uses 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge for trams, while Košice transport system uses standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in). Railways, however use standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) making Bratislava tram and railways networks incompatible with each other. There is a discussion regarding transforming Bratislava's tram gauge to standard gauge to allow trams to use the railways tracks to increase transportation capabilities of Bratislava's public transportation system. The most notable tourist lines in operation are the 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in) gauge Čiernohronská železnica and Oravsko-kysucká lesná železnica - Vychylovka. Another notable narrow gauge tracks include: the Štrbské Pleso - Štrba rack railway and the Tatra Electric Railway (both 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge) in the Tatra mountains and the 760 mm (2 ft 5910 in) gauge railway from Trenčianska Teplá to Trenčianske Teplice.


The narrow gauge railway line in Mokra Gora on the northern slopes of mountain Zlatibor in Serbia climbs a 300 metre ascent using an unusual loop in the form of the figure 8 – the popular "Šargan Eight".


In Spain there is an extensive system of 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge railways, in the north of the country, operated by FEVE (Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha, Spanish narrow gauge railways) and EuskoTren (Eusko Trenbideak, Basque Railways). At the centre of this system is a metre gauge line which runs for 650 km (400 miles) along the entire length of Spain's north coast. FEVE and EuskoTren form the longest narrow gauge network in Europe. Also near Madrid, on the mountain range of Guadarrama runs a mountain train through a short but extremely sinuous track, operated by Renfe. Separate metre gauge railways are operated by the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Catalan regional government railways) from Barcelona to Manresa and Igualada, the FGV (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana, Valencian regional government railways) around the city of Valencia, and the SFM (Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca) on the island of Majorca. Also on the island of Majorca, the FS (Ferrocarril de Sóller) operates a 3 ft (914 mm) gauge electrified railway and connecting tramway. Also the Euskotran in Bilbao, which is not a "light rail", is unusual in new tramway and light rail systems opened in the last twenty-five years in having adopted metre gauge. EuskoTran is part of EuskoTren, the Basque regional government rail company. This company also owns several bus lines. Metro Bilbao started in 1995 on EuskoTren track and has a metre gauge.


Sweden once had some fairly extensive narrow gauge networks, but most narrow gauge railways are now closed. Some were converted to standard gauge (the latest one the line between Berga and Kalmar in the 1970s) and some remains as heritage railways. The most common narrow gauge, 891 mm (2 ft 11110 in) (3 Swedish feet), existed only in Sweden. A smaller 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge network existed, and 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) gauge was used mostly by smaller, industrial railroads.

The only commercial narrow gauge railway left is the Roslagsbanan suburban railway in north-eastern Stockholm (891 mm gauge). (Trivia-fact: A part of it was once a normal gauge tramway, later rebuilt into narrow gauge, a very rare action). The longest other remaining narrow gauge railway is the 891 mm line between Ã…seda, Hultsfred and Västervik. 70 km between Hultsfred and Västervik is served by tourist trains in the summer, including 4 km of dual gauge track.

Sweden also had the unique 1093 mm gauge Köping-Uttersberg-Riddarhyttan Railway.


Switzerland boasts an extensive network of metre gauge railways, many of which interchange traffic (most prominent is the Rhaetian Railway). They are concentrated in the more heavily mountainous areas. The Jungfraubahn terminates at the highest station in Europe. Dual gauge (combined metre- and standard gauge trackway) also exists in many areas. Also, nearly all street tramways in Switzerland were and still are also metre gauge.

more Rail transport in Switzerland

United Kingdom

Enlarge picture
A train on the Welsh Highland Railway.
The United Kingdom once had a large number of narrow gauge railways. The first locomotive-hauled railway in the world was the narrow gauge Penydarren Tramway in south Wales. Most of the lines were originally built to haul minerals or agricultural products over short distances, though many also carried passengers. The longest passenger line was the combined Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog railways at 36 miles/57.9 km.

Only a few of these lines survive as commercial common carriers. The great majority of the remaining narrow gauge lines operate purely as tourist attractions, and a number of new narrow gauge tourist lines have been built in recent years. The sole passenger-carrying exception is the Glasgow Subway, an underground metro line that operates on a 4 ft (1219 mm) gauge. The Talyllyn Railway holds the distinction of being the first railway in the world of any gauge to be run entirely by volunteers. In addition a few private industrial narrow gauge railways remain, mainly serving the coal and peat extraction industries.

Amongst the most well-known narrow gauge lines in Britain are the Ffestiniog - now the oldest independent railway company in the world - the Vale of Rheidol, and the Welshpool & Llanfair in Wales, and the Lynton & Barnstaple in England. Unique amongst British railways is the rack-and-pinion Snowdon Mountain Railway which climbs to just below the summit of Wales' highest peak.

North America


Although many railways of central Canada were initially built to a broad gauge, there were several railways on Canada's Atlantic coast which were built as individual narrow gauge lines. Several early railways in Ontario were also built to a narrow gauge in the 1860s and 1870s; most were quickly converted to standard gauge. The 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) Prince Edward Island Railway was built 1871 but converted to standard gauge when Prince Edward Island joined Canada in 1873.

Construction on the 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) Newfoundland Railway took place between 1881 and 1898. It became part of the Canadian National Railways (CNR) when Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949. In 1987 Canada deregulated its railway industry and allowed railways to abandon money-losing lines. The Newfoundland Railway was abandoned in 1988 and the P.E.I. Railway in 1989.

Various mining and industrial operations in eastern, central and western Canada have also operated narrow gauge railways. The only narrow gauge system still in operation in the country is the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge White Pass and Yukon Route that reopened in 1988 to haul tourists from cruise ships docking at Skagway, Alaska through White Pass on the International Boundary to Bennett, British Columbia.


Various 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge lines operated around Mexico City. A famous one operated in Morelos State. There were also dozens of private narrow gauge lines built to service the mining district.

The Yucatán Peninsula region of Mexico has a network of narrow gauge lines, established before the region was linked by rail to the rest of Mexico in the 1950s. Only the main line connecting Mérida to central Mexico has been widened to standard gauge.
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A steam locomotive of the D&SNG

United States

Enlarge picture
Shay logging locomotive in California
Many narrow gauge railways were built in the United States. The most extensive and well known systems were the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge lines through the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado and New Mexico. For a while the majority of the railway mileage in these states was narrow gauge.

In the New England state of Maine a network of 2 ft (610 mm) gauge lines served the rural economy between the 1870s and 1940s.

Across the US, industrial narrow gauge railways were used, perhaps the best known being the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge logging lines of the western states of Oregon and California.

Today a few lines survive as heritage railways and tourist attractions. USG Corporation operates a 3 ft 0 in gauge line at Plaster City, California.

Central America

Costa Rica

See also Railways in Costa Rica

Costa Rican railways are 3 ft (914 mm) gauge and mostly 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge.

El Salvador

El Salvador ran 3 ft (914 mm) gauge steam trains into the 1970s. How much of this survived a civil war, earthquake and hurricane is unknown.
See also
  • Railways in El Salvador



Mule Locos haul ships through the locks in the Panama Canal (Gauge???)
See also
  • Transport in Panama

South America

Metre and 3 ft (914 mm) gauge lines are found in South America. Some of the 1 m (3 ft 338 in)-gauge lines cross international borders, though not as efficiently as they might.


See The railway system of Argentina

m (3 ft 338 in) railways are found in the northern half of the country. The Old Patagonian Express (La Trochita) is a 402 km-long 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) narrow gauge railway in the Andean foothills of Patagonia, now running as two portions of its original length. However, all the track is preserved. The Southern Fuegian Railway (End of the World Train) on a 500 mm (1 ft 734 in) track is considered the southernmost operating railway in the world. There is also a coal railway, Red de Ferrocarril Industrial de Rio Turbio, that operates between Rio Turbio and Rio Gallegos. Track gauge is 750 mm.


All railways in Bolivia are 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge.


See Railways in Brazil

In Brazil, almost all the lines are 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge, with the exception of a few lines in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Mato Grosso. A network of 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge lines once operated in Minas Gerais, centered around the city of São João del Rey. This network at one time had over 250 km of railway in operation, but only about 13 km remain in operation as a steam powered tourist railway (Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas). Other small narrow gauge lines include the Rio de Janeiro streetcar (Bonde Santa Tereza), with approximately 13 km of gauge, and a very short industial railway near Bertioga built to 800 mm (2 ft 7 in) gauge. A number of industrial (a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge Portland Cement line near São Paulo, for example) and agricultural (rubber plantations, sugar plantations, logging) railways also existed in Brazil in a number of narrow gauges, but few of those survive today.


Meter gauge railways are found in the northern half of the country. The Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia was originally built to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge, as were a number of mining and nitrate railways.


Most of the railways in Colombia are 3 ft (914 mm) gauge.


The railways in Ecuador are 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge. This is a famous route, the one that zig zags past the chilling canyon of the Devil's Nose. Floods, landslides and government neglect have put this operation in doubt, but they are working to restore the railway. The recently elected president Rafael Correa declared the state of emergency of the national railroad. He have secure funding for a master plan to restore it to its previous glory. In the first phase of this plan, the Ecuadorian government will invest over US $283 million to completely repair all the countrie's existing railway system and infrastructure like bridges, walls and train stations. The government will also purchase new locomotives. A second phase seek the building of new railway lines to connect the country with Brazil and Venezuela. Currently two Baldwin locomotives are ready to work, depending on track and traffic. There are also a number of diesel railbuses and some Alsthom diesel locomotives available.


Enlarge picture
The Cusco-Machu Picchu railway

The Cuzco-Quillibama line in Peru is 3 ft (914 mm) gauge. The other narrow gauge line (Huancayo-Huancavelica) will be converted to standard gauge.


There were four big narrow gauge lines in Uruguay: Puerto del Sauce (now Juan Lacaze)-Terminal: 3 ft (914 mm), (1901-1959), Piriapolis-Pan de Azucar: 750 mm (2 ft 512 in) (1903-1958), Km 393-Arrozal 33: 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) and Km 110-Cantera Burgueño: 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in). All were dismantled. There were also several quarry lines of 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) gauge, among them the famous INDARE sand line. Around 300 m of that sand line is preserved and also a lot of steam locomotives. One of those is in working order. Also, a new narrow gauge line, of around 1 km, with two diesel locomotives from the former Km 110-Cantera Burgueño line, was constructed in a park on the town of Santiago Vazquez, in the West of Montevideo.



Enlarge picture
Preserved Kowloon-Canton Railway locomotive
Many narrow gauge railways existed in China. Metre gauge railways were popular in China in several regions before 1949. The 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge Kunming-Hekou Railway (previously known as Sino-Vietnamese Railway) was built by French colonists between Vietnam and China. In Manchuria, lumber industries built narrow gauge railways into the forests, mostly of 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge.

In Hong Kong the Kowloon-Canton Railway was partially laid to 2 ft (610 mm) and 3 ft (914 mm) gauge during its construction and the Sha Tau Kok Railway was 2 ft (610 mm) gauge for much of its existence. The famous Hong Kong Tramways are 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge.


Enlarge picture
The Darjeeling Himalyan Railway

India has a substantial narrow gauge network, most of which uses 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge. There are some lines that use a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge, and a few that use 2 ft (610 mm) gauge. These are what are known in India as "narrow gauge" (as opposed to "metre gauge") lines. About 17,000 km of route are metre-gauge in India.

In the 1990s, India concluded that cities on the metre-gauge network have a second-rate train service, and is now converting most of the metre-gauge network to broad gauge as Project Unigauge - the advantages of uniformity and interoperability were judged to outweigh any other possible benefits arising from the use of diverse gauges.

In 1999 the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (sometimes called the Darjeeling "Toy Train") was officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge railway that runs from Siliguri to Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal. The railway travels climbs the foothills of the Himalayas and uses several unusual civil engineering techniques to gain the necessary height including several switchbacks, and spirals including the famous double loop at Agony Point. Until recently all trains on the railway were powered by steam locomotives; however in 2001 two modern diesel engines were built for the line and now most trains are diesel hauled.

The Matheran Hill Railway is another surviving 2 ft (610 mm) gauge hill railway. The route was destroyed by landslides caused by heavy rains in the 2005 monsoons, but has been rebuilt.

The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge railway in North-West India travelling along a mostly mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla.
Enlarge picture
The Kalka Shimla Railway
Another narrow gauge railway line in India runs in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh. The trains on this route run from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar through Kangra Valley.

Parlakimidi Light Railway, the Naupada-Gunupur railway line in India is laid between the east coast and Eastern Ghats in North Eastern Andhra Pradesh and Southern Orissa. It was built by Maharajah of Paralakhemundi in 1889.

Other narrow gauge lines are:
  • Shantipur Jn - Krishnagar City Jn - Nabadwip Ghat (28 km)
  • Nadiad Jn - Petlad Jn - Bochansan Jn - Bhadran (59 km)
  • Dabhoi Jn - Pratapnagar - Vishvamitri Jn - Jambusar Jn (79 km)
  • Dabhoi Jn - Miyagam Karjan Jn (33 km)
  • Dabhoi Jn - Chandod (17 km)
  • Dabhoi Jn - Chhuchhapura Jn - Bodeli (25 km)
  • Dabhoi Jn - Chhuchhapura Jn - Tankhala (53 km)
  • Bilimora Jn - Waghai (65 km)
  • Dhaulpur Jn - Bari - Mohari Jn - Tantpur / Sirmuttra (89 km)
  • Gwalior Jn - Sabalgarh - Sheopur Kalan (200 km)
  • Achalpur - Murtajapur Jn - Yavatmal (113 km)
  • Pulgaon - Arvi (35km)
  • Miraj Jn - Pandharpur - Kurduvadi Jn - Barsi Town - Latur (300 km)
    Some sections of this line have been
    converted to braud gauge and the
    total length is reduced to around 200 km now)
  • Nainpur Jn - Jabalpur (71km)
  • Nainpur Jn - Balaghat Jn - Katangi (156 km)
  • Nainpur Jn - Mandla Fort (30 km)
  • Nainpur Jn - Chhindwara - Itwari Jn - Nagpur Jn (290 km)
  • Nagpur - Naghbir Jn (111 km)
  • Raipur Jn - Abhanpur Jn - Dhamtari (27 km)
  • Barddhaman Jn - Katwa Jn - Ahmadpur Jn (105 km).
  • Lucknow to Agra fort
ref: [7]


Indonesia had large numbers of narrow gauge railways supporting industry, mainly sugar cane plantations in Java. In recent years, sugar cane production in Java has been declining and the railways are now largely closed or used for tourism.

Most of the current active railways in Indonesia use the Cape gauge 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm).


Enlarge picture
Modern Japan Railways freight locomotive

Except for the high-speed Shinkansen lines, all of Japan Railways Group's network is narrow gauge, built at 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm). Some companies, such as Keisei Electric Railway, Keihin Electric Express Railway, Hankyu Railway, Tokyo Metro's Ginza Line and Marunouchi line, use standard gauge. Keio Electric Railway, Toei Shinjuku Line and Tokyo and Hakodate tramways use 4 ft 6 in (1384 mm) gauge. There are some dual gauge lines which allow Shinkansen trains to travel on narrow gauge branches. Japan adopted 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) as a standard narrow gauge for minor, forestry and industrial lines. However, most of these narrow gauge lines were abandoned and currently only four lines remain in operation.


Enlarge picture
A KTMB train

Malaysia's oldest railway systems are solely 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge, a standard that has been adopted since the British colonial government laid down the first railway lines in 1885.

Keretapi Tanah Melayu, the main railway operator in Peninsular Malaysia, uses metre gauge for the main west and east coast intercity lines, as well as railway lines spanning Singapore, from the Johor-Singapore Causeway to the Tanjong Pagar railway station. Existing metre gauge lines are also used for KTM Komuter, the country's commuter rail service, which links Kuala Lumpur with neighbouring suburbs. However, standard gauge is used by the newer light rail operators in Kuala Lumpur city (Putra LRT, Star LRT) as well as the privately operated Express Rail Link to the airport.

In Sabah, the North Borneo Railway ("Keretapi Negeri Sabah") runs a metre gauge line from Kota Kinabalu up to Tenom in the Crocker Ranges, via Beaufort. Steam trains are also used in this route.


Except for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) systems in Metro Manila, which have both been constructed to the international standard gauge, the Philippine National Railways ("PNR") uses the "Cape Gauge" of 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm). The PNR currently opertes only one line: from Manila to the southern Luzon city of Legaspi. Until the 1980s a more extensive network existed going as far north as San Fernando in La Union province. There are plans to restore the La Union line and to build new lines connecting Manila to Batangas and the international airport.

There are also a number of industrial narrow gauge steam railways operating in the sugar cane industry. These are concentrated on the islands of Negros and Panay. The Visayas region is the main center for the sugar cane lines; some of the mills, such as La Carlotta Milling in Negros, run charter trains for tourists. Abandoned lines exists on the islands of Cebu, abandoned in the 1950s or 1960s, Mindanao, and Panay, closed in the 1990s. There are plans to restore the Panay Rail line which connects Roxas City with Iloilo.


Enlarge picture
Taiwan narrow gauge service

Except for the high speed railway and the metro systems in Taipei and Kaohsiung, all of Taiwan's railway network is narrow gauge, built at 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm). The isolated east coast railways that used 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge were converted to 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) when the lines were linked to the west coast system.

A 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge Alishan Forest Railway stretches 72 km and connects the city of Chiayi to the mountain resort of Alishan. The line serves mainly as a tourist attraction and offers breathtaking mountain views.

On September 7, 2006, Taiwanese government declared a plan to update to the standard gauge system.[8]

Middle East

Until 1932 a narrow gauge train ran from Cairo through Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Persia (later Iran) and Iraq. The tracks and stations are mostly tourist sites, with some sections refurbished and run as a tourist attraction. The train was notorious for being slow, and failing to go uphill. An old joke told about Ahmed, riding on his donkey alongside the train, who meets his cousin Abdulla, sitting in the train. After a while Ahmed on the donkey says: Sorry, but I must hurry on.


Enlarge picture
Thailand Railway metre gauge locomotive

While the Northern Line was originally build as 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) standard gauge, the line was regauged after 1919 and the State Railway of Thailand now operates entirely on 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge, including international through services to Malaysia. However, standard gauge is used by the Bangkok Skytrain and the Bangkok Metro.


Narrow gauge railways are common in Africa, where great distances, challenging terrain and low funding have made the narrow gauges attractive. Many nations, particularly in southern Africa, including the extensive South African Railway network (Spoornet), use a 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge. Metre gauge is also common, as in the case of the Uganda Railway. There used to be extensive 2 ft (610 mm) and 600 mm (1 ft 1112 in) gauge networks in countries such as Morocco, Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa, but these have mostly been dismantled.

Because Africa is divided into many countries, railways built by different governments tend not to link up with each other, each country's lines connecting its outlands with its own port. Incompatible gauges are therefore not obvious. For example, a link from Nigeria to Cameroon would join 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) to 1 m (3 ft 338 in).


Further north, the Eritrean Railway is in the midst of resurrecting its narrow gauge railway, a relic of its former Italian colonial days that was abandoned and heavily damaged during Eritrea's war of independence. Neighbouring railways (should they ever connect) are 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) in Sudan and 1 m (3 ft 338 in) in Ethiopia.


During the First World War when Cameroon was a German possession, a network of 2 ft (610 mm) gauge Feldbahn railways were built. These eventually extended to around 150 km of track serving rubber and palm oil plantations. [2]

The 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge is now in use.


A 2 ft (610 mm) gauge industrial railway served the lead mines at Monte Afra on the north coast. There was also a network of 1 m (3 ft 338 in) gauge railways. <ref name="TFBT" />

South Africa

Originally standard gauge, the railways of the then Cape Colony changed to narrow gauge 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm), sometimes known as Cape gauge, for cost-cutting reasons. However, with the development of a strong economy, with heavy export coal and iron ore traffic, and electrification of most main lines, South Africa, like Queensland, operates several narrow gauge trains that outdo most standard gauge and all broad gauge trains. In fact, in 1989 the Sishen-Saldanha line set a world record by carrying the biggest train in history, 7.2 km long containing 660 wagons pulled by 15 locomotives and weighing 71,232 tonnes. [3] However, the proposed Gautrain railway between Johannesburg and Pretoria will operate on standard gauge, and will thus not be capable of using any of the country's existing rail network.


Before 1901, each of the six British colonies was responsible for rail transport infrastructure. Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania constructed for narrow gauge railways. The other colonies built either standard gauge or broad gauge railways, maintaining only limited narrow gauge rail lines, except for South Australia, which built both narrow and broad gauge. As a result of this legacy, Australian railways are a confusing mix of all three gauges.
Enlarge picture
Sugar train near Mossman in 1995

In 1865, the Queensland Railways was the first mainline narrow gauge railway in the world [4]. Its tracks would eventually extend to around 9000 km. Queensland Rail operates the QR Tilt Train, with a maximum speed of 165 km/h. This train currently holds the Australian Railway Speed Record of 210.7 km/h. Queensland also has extensive sugar cane tramways of 2 ft (610 mm) gauge.

Following the success of the narrow gauge in Queensland, several narrow gauge lines were built in South East Australia. From the 1920s onwards several of these were converted to broad gauge.

Inspired by the success of the narrow gauge in Queensland, Western Australia adopted the same gauge. Until closure in 1958 Perth had the only narrow gauge tramway network of any considerable extent in mainland Australia.

The Northern Territory adopted narrow gauge when it was still part of South Australia, and a North-South transcontinental line was planned from Adelaide to Darwin in the 1870s. In the event this line was never completed, and due to flood damage and lack of traffic, the narrow gauge line was closed.

Four common carrier lines in Victoria were built to the 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge standard, to serve local farming and forestry communities. Sections of two lines (Belgrave to Gembrook and Thomson to Walhalla) have been restored as tourist railways.

New Zealand

See also: Rail transport in New Zealand

Much like Australia, there was initially no uniformity in track gauges in New Zealand. This was because the construction of railways was undertaken by the various provinces of New Zealand rather than the central government. The Canterbury Provincial Railways opened New Zealand's first railway in 1863 and used a broad gauge of 5 ft 3 in (1600 mm) , while Southland built the Bluff and Kingston Branches to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in), and short segments of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) railway were also constructed in the Auckland and Northland Regions. Eventually, under the public works schemes of Premier Julius Vogel, the railways of New Zealand were made to adhere to a 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge. The first 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) gauge railway in New Zealand was the Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway, which opened on 1 January 1873. Today, the network connects most major New Zealand cities, and is around 4,000 km in length.

See also

External links


1. ^ Whitehouse, Patrick and Snell, John B. (1984). Narrow Gauge Railways of the British Isles. ISBN 0-7153-0196-9. 
2. ^ Rowe, D. Trevor (1990). Two feet between the tracks. Plateway Press. ISBN 1-871980-03-8. 
3. ^ UCW (2006). Quality Manual (PDF). UCW Partnership. Retrieved on 2006-10-31.
4. ^ Lee, Robert (2003). Potential railway world heritage sites in Asia and the Pacific. Institute of Railway Studies, University of York.
  • P.J.G. Ransom. Narrow Gauge Steam - Its origins and worldwide development, Oxford Publishing Co., 1996, ISBN 0-86093-533-7
  • P. Whitehouse, J. Snell. Narrow Gauge Railways of the British Isles, David & Charles, 1994, ISBN C-7153-0196-9
  • Railroads of Colorado: Your Guide to Colorado's Historic Trains and Railway Sites, Claude Wiatrowski, Voyageur Press, 2002, hardcover, 160 pages, ISBN 0-89658-591-3
  • Keith Chester. "East European Narrow Gauge" 1995
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Broad gauge railways use a rail gauge (distance between the rails) greater than the standard gauge of 4 ft 8 in (1435 mm).


For a list see: List of broad gauges, by gauge and country


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standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in), allowing inter-connectivity and the inter-operability of trains. Currently 60% of the world's railway lines are built to this gauge. It is also named Stephenson gauge after George Stephenson.
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Scotch gauge was the name given to a 4 ft 6 in (1384 mm) rail gauge, the distance between the inner sides of the rails, that was adopted by early 19th century railways mainly in the Lanarkshire area of Scotland.
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Dual-gauge or mixed-gauge railway is a special configuration of railway track, allowing trains of different gauges to use the same track. Generally dual-gauge railway consists of three rails, rather than the standard two rails.
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break-of-gauge is where a line of one gauge meets a line of a different gauge. Trains and rolling stock cannot run through without some form of conversion between gauges, and freight and passengers must otherwise be transloaded.
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Rail tracks are used on railways (or railroads), which, together with railroad switches (or points), guide trains without the need for steering. Tracks consist of two parallel steel rails, which are laid upon sleepers (or cross ties) that are embedded in ballast to form the
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Tramway track is used on tramways or light rail operations, which, together with points guide trams, streetcars or light rail vehicles without the need for steering. Grooved rails (or girder rails) are often used in order to make street running feasible.
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Rail gauge
Broad gauge
Standard gauge
Scotch gauge
Narrow gauge
Dual gauge
Rail tracks
Tramway track
List of rail gauges

Broad gauge railways, by gauge and country

Gauge Country Notes
mm Imperial
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Edit means to revise, correct, or improve, and may also refer to:
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Rail transport is the transport of passengers and goods by means of wheeled vehicles specially designed to run along railways or railroads. Rail transport is part of the logistics chain, which facilitates the international trading and economic growth in most countries.
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1 millimetre =
SI units
010−3 m 0 cm
US customary / Imperial units
010−3 ft 010−3 in
The millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm
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1 foot =
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0 yd 0 in
A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes,
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1 inch =
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010−3 m 0 mm
US customary / Imperial units
010−3 ft 010−3 yd

An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes,  
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standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in), allowing inter-connectivity and the inter-operability of trains. Currently 60% of the world's railway lines are built to this gauge. It is also named Stephenson gauge after George Stephenson.
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The structure gauge, also called the minimum clearance outline, is the minimum size of tunnels and bridges as well as the minimum size of the doors that allow a rail siding access into a warehouse.
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worldwide view of the subject.
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Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually (but not always) from an ore body, vein, or (coal) seam.
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loading gauge is the envelope or contoured shape within which all railroad cars, locomotives, coaches, buses, trucks and other vehicles, must fit. Though often thought of as a height and width, it is in fact dictated by a number of dimensions and factors: the size of tunnels,
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industrial railway is a type of private railway used exclusively to serve a particular industrial site, either entirely within a mine or factory compound, or connecting the site to public freight network.
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Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually (but not always) from an ore body, vein, or (coal) seam.
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Disambiguation: other uses of the term Logging
Logging is the process in which trees are sawed down usually as part of a timber harvest. Timber is harvested to supply raw material for the wood products industry including logs for sawmills and pulp wood
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construction is the building or assembly of any infrastructure on a site or sites. Although this may not be thought of as a single activity, in fact construction is a feat of multitasking.
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A tunnel is an underground passage. The definition of what constitutes a tunnel is not universally agreed upon.
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quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone. Quarries are usually shallower than other types of open-pit mines.
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Agriculture (from Agri Latin for ager ("a field"), and culture, from the Latin cultura "cultivation" in the strict sense of "tillage of the soil". A literal reading of the English word yields "tillage of the soil of a field".
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Saccharum arundinaceum
Saccharum bengalense
Saccharum edule
Saccharum officinarum
Saccharum procerum
Saccharum ravennae
Saccharum robustum

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Patria y Libertad   (Spanish)
"Patriotism and Liberty" a

La Bayamesa  
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Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tui
Fear God and honour the Queen
God Bless Fiji
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Native name: Jawa<nowiki />

Topography of Java

Location Southeast Asia
Coordinates <nowiki />
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