Narrow gauge railway

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Cape gauge freight trains in southern Africa can weigh up to several thousand tons. Here an empty coal train on the Nacala – Moatize railway line in Mozambique with four locomotives. Two at the Zugspitze, two in the middle of the train.

A narrow-gauge railway is a railway whose track width is smaller than the standard gauge of 1435 mm (4 feet 8.5 inches ). This also applies if it is the predominant track width, as is the case in South Africa, for example. The counterpart to the narrow-gauge railway is the broad- gauge railway , which has a wider gauge than the standard gauge.


System comparison at Jindřichův Hradec in the Czech Republic, where the 760 mm track of the narrow-gauge railway Jindřichův Hradec – Nová Bystřice branches off the standard gauge track to the right.
Standard gauge as well as 750 mm and 500 mm track at the International Rhine Regulation in Lustenau (Vorarlberg). The picture shows that a lighter superstructure is used for narrower gauges .

Narrow-gauge railways are easier and cheaper to build than standard-gauge railways. The wheelbase of the smaller wagons on the narrow-gauge railways is shorter, which means that narrower arc radii can be achieved. The smaller and lighter vehicles enable a more economical dimensioning of the superstructure .

The two narrow-gauge gauges that are most widespread - often also operated as main lines - are:

In Austria and the other successor states of the Habsburg monarchy , the Bosnian gauge of 760 millimeters is generally used for narrow-gauge railways .

Differentiation from the small train

In Germany, the expression “narrow-gauge railway” is often incorrectly equated with the term “ small railway ” in everyday language . A small railway built and operated according to the Prussian Kleinbahngesetz can also be built in standard gauge. In contrast, there are narrow-gauge main railways in many countries, for example in India , Thailand , Kenya or Tunisia .


Passenger train on the Šarganska osmica with Bosna track .

The main reasons for choosing the narrow gauge were initially no technical or topographical reasons, only the significantly lower costs for construction and operation. Only in this way could the company's income, which would not have been greater even with standard gauge due to the lack of local resources, earn interest on the investment capital and thus work economically. The construction costs for comparable standard-gauge lines could not be raised by those interested in the railways and operators, and the operation would not have been financially viable. In addition, the manufacturers of railway material offered the narrow-gauge inexpensively in order to get the local railway construction, which had been largely idle since the beginning of the 1870s, going again. The additional advantage of being able to develop topographically demanding areas inexpensively or sensibly using the narrow gauge was only added as a second step and a side effect.

In the early days of the narrow-gauge railways, comparable standard-gauge lines were not driven faster. In 1902, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian State Railways carried the same amount of goods on the Bosna track as the Swiss Northeast Railway on its standard gauge network of the same size. Since the ratio of vehicle weight to payload was often more favorable than with the standard lane and the volume of traffic was initially not great, the narrow gauge met all requirements.

Thanks to tight curves, narrow-gauge railways adapt well to the terrain. Downhill train of the Bernina Railway .

The front runner in the construction of the narrow-gauge was France, where there were up to 17,000 kilometers of meter gauge . The largest contiguous narrow-gauge network in Europe was in Yugoslavia with a Bosnian gauge (760 mm). This is where the most extensive and high-quality narrow-gauge traffic in Europe took place, with express trains, dining and sleeping cars. The Bosnian mountain sections were not inferior to the Swiss in terms of demands and boldness. A small section operated as a museum railway, the Šarganska osmica , gives an impression of this again today.

Advantages and disadvantages

South Africa's railways operate on the Cape Gauge. They are superior to European standard-gauge railways in terms of their performance. Express train " Shosholoza Meyl ".

Because of the tighter curve radii , narrow-gauge railways can adapt better to the terrain and have lower axle loads . The rolling resistance in the curved track is lower due to the smaller track width. They are therefore easier and cheaper to build than standard-gauge railways. Narrow-gauge wagons have lower demands on the structural strength of their car bodies . The vehicles can be built lighter, which is particularly advantageous on steep mountain railways . Cog railways , which mostly run on narrow gauge, make use of this advantage .

The smaller and lighter vehicles enable a more economical dimensioning of the superstructure . Thanks to the inexpensive operation, many narrow-gauge railways were able to survive despite relatively modest traffic. In Switzerland, narrow-gauge railways operate urban traffic with a better cost recovery rate than those with standard gauge.

Degree of cost coverage (average values of rail offers for 2009)

Narrow gauge Standard gauge
Agglomeration traffic 70.8% 53.9%
Overland / mountain transport 40.0% 36.6%


Many Cape Gauge railways in Japan and southern Africa achieve performances that are comparable to, or even surpass, European standard gauge railways. In Japan and South Africa , passenger trains run on Cape Gauge at speeds of up to 160 km / h. Freight trains weighing up to 16,000 tons operate in South Africa.

In European meter gauge railway is scheduled to run h up to 120 km / in Tunisia 130 km / h and Queensland with Kapspur- tilting trains " QR Tilt Train" 160 km / h. Such a train set the Australian speed record in 1999 with 210 km / h. In freight transport, the Steiermärkische Landesbahnen or the Rhaetian Railway meet all requirements up to the transport of 20-foot containers . The Waldenburgerbahn in Switzerland or the Mariazellerbahn , the Zillertalbahn and the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn in Austria can reach speeds of up to 80 km / h on 750 and 760 mm gauge .


The reloading of goods can be avoided with trolleys . Freight train in Oschatz station .
Containers simplify reloading from normal to narrow gauge. Waggon Rhätischen web with an interchangeable container of a retail company .

While travelers are forced to change trains at the transition to the standard gauge network, the goods have to be reloaded. For the narrow-gauge railways that still operate freight traffic, this is associated with effort and corresponding costs. To avoid reloading, standard gauge wagons are loaded onto trolleys or trolleys on routes with a suitable clearance profile , although the narrow-gauge track must be sufficient for the required axle and meter load .

The smallest width of covered goods wagons resulted from the size of the large cattle to be transported . For the 760 mm gauge, 1.8 meter wide cars with only three seats next to each other were initially used. Later, vehicles with the same width as the meter gauge were used. In the case of meter gauge, the vehicle width of the standard gauge is sometimes used. The greater wagon width is paid for with increased swaying and a lower stability of the vehicles against tipping. In order to give the wide car body a smooth run and sufficient stability, a strong superstructure with sufficiently long sleepers and a correspondingly wide substructure is necessary. The advantage of the lower construction costs of narrow-gauge railways is thereby partly lost.

The locomotive 4 of the Zillertal Railway , formerly JDŽ 83-076, is characterized by good cornering ability. The rear coupling axle is combined with the following running axle in a Krauss-Helmholtz frame .

The operating costs of a railway do not primarily depend on its gauge, but on its curve radii. Tight bends lead to increased wear of rails, sleepers and wheel tires and to increased consumption of traction energy. For the construction of narrow-gauge steam locomotives, complicated constructions had to be developed to guarantee the cornering, which were expensive to build and maintain. Locomotives with axially movable coupling axles require a superstructure with good lateral rigidity. Or support-tender locomotives , geared locomotives and locomotives with steam bogies of the types Mallet , Fairlie and Garratt were used. Power-consuming gear ratios and moving steam inflows were accepted. Locomotives with Krauss-Helmholtz steering racks had proven themselves . Even with today's bogie locomotives and railcars , the limited space is a challenge for the engineers. The narrower the track, the more complicated it is to install the traction motors and gears in the traction vehicles .

Unsecured level crossing of the Frauenfeld-Wil railway in the canton of Thurgau. At such crossings of rail and road traffic there are often collisions, again and again with fatalities.

High-speed traffic is not possible on narrow-gauge lines . In the 1950s, trains could travel a maximum of 100 km / h on the Japanese Cape Gauge Network. In order to achieve higher speeds, the Shinkansen high-speed lines were built in standard gauge.

Further disadvantages of narrow-gauge railways are only indirectly related to the gauge: Many narrow-gauge railways form closed branch lines or island networks. The Swiss narrow-gauge public transport railways use four track gauges, around half a dozen power systems , two braking systems and five train protection systems . Four different rack systems are also used on the narrow-gauge rack railways . The most modern technology at the time was selected for the construction of a railway. A standardization was largely omitted, but will be sought as far as possible in the longer term. This fragmentation leads to vehicle purchases in small series with correspondingly high purchase prices.

The inexpensive layout of many narrow-gauge railways meant that many sections of the route run along roads. The side streets cross the railroad track, which leads to a large number of level crossings in many places . With the increase in motor vehicle traffic and often also in rail traffic, the intersections have become a focus of danger. Securing these level crossings with warning lights or barriers is complex and expensive.

Narrow gauges were widely used on trams . However, the two-axle tram cars that had dominated Europe for a long time usually had wheelbases that were also possible with standard gauge. The narrow gauge makes it difficult to install traction motors and gears.

Re-gauging of narrow-gauge railways

The Czech city of Liberec converted its tram network from meter to standard gauge. A meter-gauge multiple unit of the overland line to Jablonec travels on the three-rail track in the city center.

To avoid these disadvantages, many narrow-gauge railways were converted to standard gauge. Many of these railways were reaching their capacity limits due to increased traffic. They could only handle freight traffic within their own narrow-gauge network without reloading. Remedial measures by using a trolley or a trolley were too cumbersome and costly in the long run.

The conversion of standard gauge lines to narrow gauge is less common. Shortly after the Second World War, the Chemins de fer du Jura in Switzerland re -tracked the Saignelégier – Glovelier railway line , which was given a connected meter-gauge network of 74 kilometers in length. The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (HSB) converted the former standard gauge Gernrode – Quedlinburg to meter gauge in 2006 because it was threatened with closure and the HSB would have lost its connection to the (standard gauge) railway network in Gernrode. The Wynental- and Suhrentalbahn took over the Aarau – Suhr line from the Swiss Federal Railways and converted it to meter gauge so that they could do without their old interurban tram line .


Re-gauge system installed in Montreux for test purposes.

The re- gauging of railway vehicles from normal to meter gauge failed until recently due to the large track width difference of 435 millimeters. When changing gauges to Russian or Iberian broad gauge , the gauge only needs to be changed from 85 to 233 millimeters. In Japan, the first train went into operation in 1998 with the Kikan Kahen Densha , which changes from normal to Cape gauge . At the Montreux-Berner Oberland-Bahn the development of a lane changing bogie for meter gauge is in development. Because of the lower structural strength of narrow-gauge wagons, the re-gauged vehicles cannot freely run on the standard-gauge network.

Common gauges

In addition to the Cape gauge (1067 mm, 3.5 feet) and the meter gauge (1000 mm), numerous other gauges are in use, such as 750 mm, 760 mm ( Bosnian gauge ), 762 mm (2.5 feet), 900 mm, 914 mm (3 feet). Some gauges are typical for certain countries, such as the 891 mm for Sweden or the 950 mm for Italy. 600 mm and 610 mm (2  feet ) were once typical gauges for non-public railways ( field railways ), but there were also public railways in these gauges, a few of which have survived to this day. At Park railway track gauge is 381 mm (1.25 feet) wide distribution. In the south-east of England there is the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, a 22 km long route that is actually used in everyday traffic in this gauge.

Narrow gauge railways by country



Many German narrow gauge lines are as heritage railway operated on others like here at Weißeritztalbahn steam locomotives are also used in regular service used.
The RSE Museum is reminiscent of the Bröltalbahn , the first narrow-gauge railway in Germany.

In general, the Bröltalbahn, opened in 1860, is regarded as the first German narrow-gauge railway (gauge 785 mm). At that time, the Upper Silesian narrow-gauge railways already existed in another part of Prussia , a narrow-gauge railway network with a gauge of 30 Prussian inches , corresponding to 785 mm, on which steam traction had been used since around 1853. This network subsequently grew into a large network of electric trams (as of 1922: about 130 km), overland small railways (e.g. Gleiwitz-Trynek-Ratibor) and industrial railways. A remaining route is still in operation as a tourist train in Bytom (now Poland).

Narrow-gauge railways had their heyday in Germany from the 1880s until the general motorization of road traffic using trucks and buses after the First World War. They were also used in large numbers as field railways or forest railways . In the mountains , such as B. in the Harz , they were used because of difficult terrain, as narrow-gauge railways could often be built more cheaply than corresponding standard-gauge lines. A few narrow-gauge lines were shut down and dismantled in Germany even before the Second World War, as they - like many full-gauge lines - became increasingly unprofitable when viewed separately. In the summer of 1945, the Soviet Union dismantled a total of 435.28 km of narrow-gauge lines on the Western Pomerania small and branch lines as a reparation payment by September 1945 . Many narrow-gauge lines in Germany were later shut down and dismantled, initially mainly the lines in the Federal Republic, which were mostly operated as private railways, and from around 1960 increasingly the narrow-gauge railways in the GDR and those of the German Federal Railroad in the west. In the mid-1970s, there were only a few narrow-gauge railways left in Germany. The narrow-gauge railways that are still in existence today, some of which were rebuilt by associations, are often used for tourist purposes or as museum railways.

The Albbähnle on the way to Oppingen .
Öchsle museum railway on the way near Herrlishöfen .

In addition to Saxony, the then state of Württemberg was the only state in the German Empire in which a large number of narrow-gauge railways were built by the state railway. The first narrow-gauge railway line operated by KWSt.E. was the line from Nagold to Altensteig in the north-eastern Black Forest opened in 1891, soon popularly known as " Altensteigerle ". The other state narrow-gauge railways in Württemberg were then given a gauge of 750 mm (as in Saxony, which made it possible to exchange locomotives). In the years from 1894 to 1899, the Bottwartalbahn , the Zabergäubahn , the Federseebahn and the narrow-gauge railway Biberach – Warthausen – Ochsenhausen, which is still operated as a museum railway today and known under the name “ Öchsle ”, all of which were operated with largely standardized vehicles. The overall planning was based on a clear concept that generally provided for the narrow gauge for all state local railways, because the costs for the track at 750 mm were only around 60 percent compared to a full-gauge local railroad, with the same performance. Where public roads could also be used, the meter gauge should be used, otherwise the cheaper 750 mm gauge, which should serve as a general instrument for the state development in Württemberg and in the final expansion should be around 600 km in length. The full gauge was only intended as an exception for short routes with high transitional traffic. The narrow gauge made it possible to build larger and more closely meshed route networks thanks to its favorable price and flexibility, and it also saved reloading of goods because loading tracks could be led to the commercial premises and quarries with minimal effort. The initially very low volume of traffic in the regions would not have been sufficient to provide the necessary minimum return on expensive full-lane lines. The narrow gauge was thus the only profitable way to build a railway.

After 1900, when new regulations made it possible to build inexpensive standard-gauge local railways in Württemberg, hardly any other narrow-gauge railways were built - only three lines were still built. The first was the private Jagst Valley Railway , which was built in a 750 mm gauge until 1901. It was followed in October 1901 by the meter-gauge Amstetten – Laichingen railway line built by the private Württembergische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft (WEG) . This is still operated today on a leftover piece by the Ulm Railway Friends as a museum railway.

As the very last narrow-gauge railway in Württemberg, the KWSt.E. the continuation of the Federseebahn from Bad Buchau to Riedlingen was built. In contrast to many other lines, the construction of this line did not come to a complete standstill even after the beginning of World War I, so that in mid-November 1916 the extension to Dürmentingen and at the end of November 1916 the further line to Riedlingen could be put into operation. Only the construction as a narrow-gauge railway was economical at that time, because it could be realized quickly and inexpensively with little civil engineering work and the narrow-gauge was completely sufficient for the volume of traffic.

In Baden, only the meter-gauge line from Mosbach to Mudau in the Odenwald was built by the state railway , but there were several private and mostly also meter-gauge narrow-gauge railways such as the Zell-Todtnau-Bahn in the Black Forest or the Mittelbadische Eisenbahnen (MEG) network in the Upper Rhine Plain . From 1887 to 1892 the Mannheim-Weinheim-Heidelberg-Mannheimer Eisenbahn was built, which today belongs to Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr and is still one of the most important public transport modes in the Rhine-Neckar area, operated by light rail vehicles.

All the formerly state-owned narrow-gauge railways in Baden-Württemberg came to the Deutsche Bundesbahn , which wanted to make operation on the narrow-gauge railways more cost-effective for the transition period up to the planned closure by purchasing new modern diesel locomotives ( V51 / V52 series ). In the overall view, all routes were profitable because the volume of goods transferred to the full-lane network enabled interesting income with low additional costs due to the long transport distances. However, only the Öchsle survived in freight traffic until 1983, all other railways, like most private narrow-gauge railways, were discontinued until around 1970 despite their now supraregional fame and tourist attractiveness.

The Zugspitzbahn is the most famous narrow-gauge railway in Bavaria.

Narrow-gauge railways are not very common here, as the Bavarian state passed a law on the construction of so-called " local railways" as early as the end of the 19th century , which enabled the construction and operation of standard-gauge branch lines in a greatly simplified design and at very low costs. This meant that there were no longer any significant additional costs compared to narrow-gauge routes. Nevertheless, the K.Bay.Sts.B. and the semi-state LAG built some narrow-gauge lines, all of which were meter gauge. There was the Walhallabahn near Regensburg, which was operated by the Federal Railroad until the 1960s , the Neuötting – Altötting steam tram , which was closed long before the Second World War, and the line from Eichstätt to Kinding, which was converted to standard gauge by 1938 . Occasional further plans for narrow-gauge lines were no longer implemented or, after the adoption of the Local Railway Act, were implemented in standard gauge.

The two narrow-gauge mountain railways to Wendelstein and Zugspitze are currently still in operation , as well as the short Chiemsee Railway , which is still operated with steam, from the holiday resort of Prien to the landing stage for the Chiemsee fleet in Stock. On certain days in the summer months, the electrified Wachtl-Express with a 900 millimeter gauge runs from Kiefersfelden to Thiersee (district of Wachtl) in Austria (five kilometers).

Mesendorf des "Pollo" station

In Brandenburg there were some narrow-gauge railways, for example the meter-gauge Spreewaldbahn or the Rathenow-Senzke-Nauen district railroad with a gauge of 750 mm, as well as the small railways in the West and Ostprignitz districts . All routes were abandoned by 1970. However, a section of the Prignitz narrow-gauge railways from Mesendorf to Lindenberg was rebuilt and has since been operated as a museum railway under the popular name "Pollo". The 750 mm route from Müncheberg-Dahmsdorf to Buckow (Märkische Schweiz) was later switched to standard gauge as was the 1000 mm route of the "Friedeberger Kreisbahn" between Friedeberg-Ost and the district town of Friedeberg (Neumark), today Strzelce Krajenskie, Poland. Narrow-gauge commercial railways existed in the area of ​​the brickworks near Zehdenick-Mildenberg (as museum railways to this day) or the electrically operated estate railway between Bärfelde (today Smolnica) and Ringenwalde (Dyszno) in the Soldin district (Neumark) , today Myślibórz, Poland, which existed from 1905 to 1945 .

The only park railway in Brandenburg connects the Sandow district in Cottbus with the zoo and Pückler's Branitzer Park. The now 3.2 km long route of the Park Railway Cottbus with a gauge of 600 mm was put into operation in 1954 and still runs in the summer months.


In Hesse there were only a few narrow-gauge railways for public transport, they are no longer in operation today. Originally built for the transport of moor , there is currently the Bad Schwalbacher Kurbahn , which operates for people .

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Bäderbahn Molli in downtown Bad Doberan

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania there were a number of narrow-gauge railways with gauges of 1000 mm (including the Franzburger Kreisbahnen Nord), 750 mm ( Kleinbahn-Gesellschaft Greifswald-Wolgast , Kleinbahn-Gesellschaft Greifswald-Jarmen , Demminer Bahnen , Klockow). In addition, there was a larger network of narrow-gauge railways in the north-east of today's federal state with a gauge of only 600 mm, namely the Mecklenburg-Pomerania narrow-gauge railway MPSB and the Anklam-Lassaner small railway connected to it . A line from the MPSB network was able to hold onto the Deutsche Reichsbahn until 1969. Today only a small, restored part of this extensive 600 mm network still exists as the MPSB museum railway in Schwichtenberg .

A total of four narrow-gauge railways can still be seen regularly in operation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The so-called Bäderbahn Molli runs daily exclusively with steam trains from the Ostseebad Kühlungsborn to Bad Doberan and back. A well-known characteristic of the route is the Bad Doberan thoroughfare. In summer there is an hourly service.

On the island of Rügen , the “ Rasende Roland ” runs daily between Putbus and Göhren by steam trains. In the summer season , trains between the seaside resorts run every hour and until late in the evening. In addition, trains are tied through a three-rail track on the DB line to Lauterbach Mole .

The two last-mentioned railways, the Molli and the “Rasenden Roland”, are regular local rail passenger transport under the responsibility of the state.

The third narrow-gauge railway is the already mentioned, restored part of the MPSB. A railway association runs trips here on weekends in the summer season, on special occasions also under steam.

From 2012 to 2014 the already dismantled Grevesmühlen – Klütz railway line was rebuilt on a 4.5 km long line as a narrow-gauge railway with 600 mm gauge by the German Small Railways Foundation . The track is also called Klützer Kaffeebrenner or De Lütt Kaffeebrenner .

Lower Saxony

Of the once numerous narrow-gauge railways, only island railways have been in daily operation since the early 1970s: Borkumer Kleinbahn , Inselbahn Langeoog , Inselbahn Wangerooge .

There will be museum traffic in 2016 on the Spiekerooger Inselbahn and the German Railway Association on the Bruchhausen-Vilsen-Asendorf line.


Here runs (both in freight and in the museum train traffic) from Brohl the Rhine to angels in the Eifel the Brohltalbahn .

Line 4 (formerly Rhein-Haardt-Bahn , on the Bad Dürkheim – Ludwigshafen-Oggersheim line ) of the Rhein-Neckar traffic is legally a narrow-gauge railway according to the railway building and operating regulations , but is operated like a light rail.

The trains on the Zittau narrow-gauge railway are still hauled by steam locomotives.

Main article: Saxon narrow-gauge railways , List of narrow-gauge railways in Saxony

Saxony once had the largest uniformly operated narrow-gauge railway system in Germany, which, as a special feature, was built and operated exclusively by the state. In 1881, the Wilkau-Haßlau-Kirchberg narrow-gauge railway opened the first line. In the years that followed, a large number of routes were built, especially in the Ore Mountains , but also in the agricultural hills of Central Saxony and Upper Lusatia . After the First World War, the network reached its greatest extent with 29 individual routes and a total length of over 500 kilometers. In addition to their economic importance, many routes later became well known as tourist railways. Around 1970 most of the routes were given up for reasons of profitability, only a small part remained because of their economic importance.

Regular passenger transport is still offered on five Saxon narrow-gauge railroads, and steam locomotives are still used to operate these routes, mainly for tourist reasons. Other routes - such as the Preßnitz Valley Railway - were rebuilt in sections as a museum railway after 1990.

Steam train of the Harz narrow gauge railways in chunks .

While the narrow-gauge railway Walkenried – Braunlage / Tanne (section (Brunnenbachsmühle) –Sorge – Tanne) was operated from 1899 to 1958, the Mansfeld mine railway still exists as the oldest operational narrow-gauge railway in Germany in the function of a museum railway and the Harz narrow-gauge railway , consisting of the Selketalbahn and Harzquerbahn and Brocken Railway with 1000 mm gauge. With a route length of 140.4 km, they form the largest remaining narrow-gauge network in Germany, have long been a nationally known tourist attraction and are still mainly operated with steam to this day.


In the northernmost state, the former railways on Amrum (900 mm) and Sylt (meter gauge ) have long been dismantled. After the construction of the Flensburger Kreisbahn , narrow-gauge circular railroad networks quickly developed in the districts of that time, such as the Eckernförde Kreisbahnen , Rendsburger Kreisbahn and Kreisbahn Norderdithmarschen , which have also been dismantled. With the cession of North Schleswig in 1920, the circular path went to Als , the Apenrader Kreisbahn and the Haderslebener Kreisbahn to Denmark and were later closed. The Niebüll – Dagebüll line , which is still in operation today, was opened in 1895 as a small railroad in meter gauge and switched to standard gauge in 1926.

Only the two narrow-gauge material tracks of the Office for Rural Areas (ALR) to the Halligen Nordstrandischmoor (field railway track) and Oland and Langeneß (900 mm) are still in operation.

From 2006, the standard gauge Malente – Lütjenburg line was partially re -gauged to 600 mm. It was put into operation in 2008 to Malente-Nord and in 2009 to Bruhnskoppel. The railway was operated as a "railroad" and has since been discontinued.

Other federal states

In the areas of the rest of today's federal states, numerous narrow-gauge railways were put into operation towards the end of the 19th century. In almost every region there were one or more narrow-gauge railways, all of which were built by the municipalities themselves as private railways or in the form of a so-called "Kreisbahn" or "Kreiskleinbahn", since in these cases the state railways are not involved in opening up specific, mostly still less developed rural areas were interested. Especially in West and Central Germany, in Pomerania, West and East Prussia and in Upper Silesia, many narrow-gauge railways were created in this way, which became extremely important for the economic upswing of a region and in many cases even gained national fame after the advent of motorized road traffic In 1920, however, increasingly lost in importance and finally became a losing business. Therefore, from 1950, before the general decline in rail traffic due to increasing road traffic in Germany, a long-term “narrow-gauge railroad dying” began. Almost all narrow-gauge railways in Germany were shut down by the mid-1970s, but then numerous associations succeeded in maintaining or rebuilding various routes, so that today a large number of German museum railways are narrow-gauge.


Motor coaches and tourist steam train on the Murtalbahn

The Austrian narrow-gauge railways were almost exclusively built in the Bosnian gauge of 760 mm for military reasons and mostly belonged to the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB). In the meantime, however, all narrow-gauge railways have been shut down or privatized. With this, the ÖBB had completely withdrawn from the narrow gauge. The meter gauge was mainly used in tram-like electric local trains and cog railways. The Linz tram , on the other hand, is built with a gauge of 900 millimeters.

Several routes are still in operation today as regular public transport operators, and museum traffic was set up on some routes after regular operations were discontinued.

The following routes are still in regular operation today:

The service railway of the International Rhine Regulation (gauge 750 mm), which connects the confluence of the Alpine Rhine into Lake Constance with the quarry near Koblach , has a special position . The train runs over Swiss and Austrian territory and will be used as a museum train after the original transport function has ceased to exist.


In Switzerland , narrow-gauge railways are mostly meter-gauge and can be found throughout the country. In several cases you cross the state border. Many of them have been electric since they opened. In the Alps , within the main Alpine ridge, there is a continuous meter-gauge network stretching from Valais to Graubünden , which is operated entirely by the Matterhorn-Gotthard Railway (MGB) with mixed adhesion and cogwheel operation and by the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) in full adhesion operation. Very early on, narrow-gauge railways opened up mountains for up-and-coming tourism , such as the Monte Generoso or the Jungfraujoch . Tourism also first led to luxury and later to panorama trains on the meter-gauge railways . The Montreux-Berner Oberland-Bahn (MOB) played a pioneering role here , first with the Golden Mountain Pullman Express and then with panorama cars. Many smaller meter gauge railways, particularly in western Switzerland , in the Central Plateau and in the Eastern developed parallel to population growth in the urban areas into efficient transport companies of public transport , some with S-Bahn -like suburban traffic. Thus, the promoted regional transport Bern-Solothurn (RBS) more passengers on meter gauge as MGB and RhB together.

In contrast to other countries, there were no extensive route adjustments, apart from the cross-border tram network of the city and the canton of Geneva and its French surrounding area. The wave of changes that began in the 1930s, primarily in the vicinity of the trams and overland trams running on the road surface, on buses and trolleybuses , provided these could not be comprehensively modernized by creating separate routes to separate rail and road, ended in the 1970s. Continuous modernization and targeted expansion, including the construction of the Furka Base Tunnel and the Vereina Tunnel , have shaped the image of Swiss narrow-gauge railways ever since.

In addition to the meter gauge, other gauges are also common in Switzerland: 600 millimeters mostly for field railways operated as a museum railroad, 750 millimeters for the Waldenburgerbahn ( gauge change to 1000 millimeters intended), 800 millimeters for rack railways and 900 millimeters for temporary works railways in tunnel construction, some of which can be quite extensive.

Rest of Europe

Rhodope Railway in Bulgaria

With the Rhodope Railway, which opened between 1922 and 1945, there is only one public narrow-gauge railway in Bulgaria . The 125-kilometer route runs in a northeast-southwest direction between the Rila and Rhodope Mountains and ends east of the Pirin Mountains . Because of its route as a mountain railway, it is often compared to railways in the Alps and is also known as the " Rhaetian Railway of the Balkans" . The track width is 760 mm ( Bosnian track ).


With the assignment of North Schleswig in 1920, the circular path went to Als , the Apenrader Kreisbahn and the Haderslebener Kreisbahn to Denmark. All three railways were later closed, as was the Kolding – Egtved Jernbane (1898–1930).

The power supply of the Train Jaune of the Ligne de Cerdagne comes from a lateral power rail .
Z800 multiple unit on the Saint-Gervais – Vallorcine route in the French Alps near Chamonix.
Crossing of a passenger train with a freight train on the island of Corsica .

Most of the lines have disappeared from the originally extensive narrow-gauge network in France. From the network of what was then Chemins de fer de Provence , only the Nice – Digne-les-Bains route remains. Even at the Chemin de fer du Blanc-Argent only a remnant is in operation. The Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme and Chemin de fer de La Mure continue to operate as museum trains.

The Ligne de Cerdagne in the Pyrenees , despite the large differences in height as pure adhesion line busy. On the island of Corsica, the Chemins de fer de la Corse operate a continuous meter-gauge railway network, which is of importance for tourism that should not be underestimated. An international narrow-gauge line operated by the SNCF and the TMR connects Chamonix with Martigny in Switzerland. The cog railways Chemin de fer du Montenvers in the Alps and Chemin de Fer de la Rhune in the Pyrenees are also meter gauge.

Old and new multiple unit delivered by Stadler Rail in front of the Diakopto depot .
Intercity train in Pyrgos in the Peloponnese, Greece.

A section of the former Jokioinen – Forssa railway with a gauge of 750 mm is now operated as a museum railway.


From Borjomi , a narrow-gauge railway called “Kukuschka” (cuckoo) with a 912 mm gauge runs over 37 km to Bakuriani and overcomes an altitude difference of 1,200 m in about 2.5 hours. It was commissioned in 1912, with Gustave Eiffel designing one of the bridges. The line was electrified in 1968, and freight traffic was discontinued in 1991. The maximum speed is 25 km / h.


In Greece there is an extensive meter gauge network in the Peloponnese . Between Athens and Corinth the remodeling is completed to standard gauge, the route to Patras is currently under sections umgespurt . Also on the Peloponnese is the 750 mm narrow-gauge railway Diakopto – Kalavrita , which also has sections with rack. The Thessalian meter- gauge railway from Volos to Kalambaka was converted to standard gauge a few years ago, and the line from Volos to Velestino was closed. The Pelion Railway with a gauge of 600 mm was put back into operation as a tourist railway in two sections .


In addition to the public rail network with 1600 mm wide gauge , Bord na Móna operates a narrow-gauge network with a gauge of 914 mm, which is used to transport the excavated peat on the Clonmacnoise and West Offaly Railway and other railways. 850 kilometers of this are permanently laid tracks, the rest will be laid and dismantled as required.

Isle of Man

There are several railways with 3-foot gauge (914 mm) on the island with the Isle of Man Railway, the Manx Electric Railway and the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway . The electric mountain railway Snaefell Mountain Railway runs on the Cape gauge , the tourist railway Groudle Glen Railway on a gauge of 610 mm.

Ferrovia Circumetnea train with Mount Etna in the background.
Panoramatriebzug the SSIF on the path from Domodossola to Locarno.
“Metrostar” multiple unit operated by Ferrovia Circumvesuviana in the province of Naples

In Italy, the gauge of 950 mm (Italian meter gauge) is common, for example at the Ferrovia Circumvesuviana , which connects Naples with surrounding communities and cities with a dense, S-Bahn- like operation . The Catania - Riposto line of the Ferrovia Circumetnea is the last line of the formerly extensive narrow-gauge railway network in Sicily . The Roma Laziali – Giardinetti railway line is also only in operation for a short section. The Ferrovie della Sardegna operate the 950 mm network in Sardinia with several regional routes , the Sassari and Cagliari light rail and the Trenino Verde museum railway .

There are also several narrow-gauge railways in meter gauge such as the Ferrovia Trento – Malè in Trentino , the Rittner Bahn in South Tyrol and the Ferrovia Genova – Casella in Liguria . The also meter gauge Ferrovia Vigezzina connects Domodossola on the Simplon line with Locarno in Switzerland. On the southernmost section of the Bernina line , the Rhaetian Railway is the only foreign railway to penetrate Italian territory.

When the Austrian South Tyrol was annexed by Italy in 1920 , two railways with Bosnian gauge were added: the Val Gardena Railway and the Fiemme Valley Railway . Their operation was discontinued in 1960 and 1963 respectively.

Former Yugoslavia
Steam train on the Šarganska osmica museum
railway in Serbia.
Support tender locomotive JDŽ 189 -
013 type Klose of the Yugoslav State Railways in 1965 in Sarajevo.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina , from 1878 (after the Berlin Congress ), the Austrian military administration built the Bosnabahn as a supply railway from Bosanski Brod to Sarajevo , from which the network of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian state railways in the so-called Bosnian is under the administration of Austria-Hungary Track width developed (760 mm). After the First World War, connected to the Serbian narrow-gauge network in the same gauge, an extensive network of main railways on narrow gauge, on which express trains also ran , was created between Belgrade and Dubrovnik , as well as between northern Bosnia and Montenegro .

In addition, there were numerous forest railways in the same gauge (e.g. Steinbeisbahn in the Jajce / Prijedor / Drvar area, which ran to Knin before the standard-gauge main line Bihać - Split was built , or the Usora valley railway , which extended to Banja Luka in its largest extent ; forest railway Zavidovići –Olovo – Kusače ).

All lines were replaced or discontinued by newly built standard gauge lines at the latest in the 1970s. In the successor states of Yugoslavia, a rebuilt section of the Šarganska osmica (Šargan eighth) at the Šargan Pass in western Serbia is in operation as a museum railway . Subsequently, a section of the Bosnian Eastern Railway to Višegrad was rebuilt in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina .

See also section Slovenia

RTM diesel multiple unit M1602 " Reiger " near Ouddorp , Netherlands.

The Stichting voorheen RTM is a railway museum in Ouddorp with an associated museum railway on the Brouwersdam with an extensive collection of historical trams from the former Rotterdamse Tramweg Maatschappij (RTM). The first section of the railway line went into operation in 2007. This is the only line with a Cape gauge still in operation in the Netherlands. Many Dutch interurban trams were built in this gauge.

The Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden , opened in 1993, enables the operation of the vehicles with 700 mm gauge, which are housed in the neighboring railway museum.


The Cape Track was first used on a larger scale by the Norwegian Carl Abraham Pihl . The original notation CAP-Spur goes back to his initials . The first Kapspurbahn built by Pihl was the Hamar-Grundsetbahn, opened in Norway in 1862 . Up to 1880 a total of 970 kilometers of Cape-gauge railways had been built in Norway, which were converted to standard gauge between 1904 and 1949. On the other hand, the meter-gauge Thamshavnbanen and the Setesdalsbanen , both of which are operated as museum railways, have been preserved in narrow gauge.

Train hauled by a diesel locomotive in Latvia.

The Gulbene – Alūksne railway line (750 mm) is a museum railway, but also a local transport company serving passenger transport. Regular operations were severely restricted on February 1, 2010.


From 1892 onwards, various narrow-gauge railways with a gauge of 750 millimeters were built in what is now Lithuania. During the First World War, the German troops, who occupied the country from 1915, built further lines in 600 mm gauges. After the war, the newly founded state railway Lietuvos ležinkeliai (LG) took over all routes. In 1929, the LG operated 125 km in 750 mm track and 325 km in 600 mm track. From the beginning of the 1930s, LG converted some of the 600 mm lines to 750 mm and expanded the route network to include individual new lines. In 1939 the 750 mm network had grown to 284 km. On this network, LG used, among other things, the powerful steam locomotives of the P4 and P5 series built by Škoda , of which the former was allowed to drive at least 60 km / h.

After the Second World War, the Soviet state railway SŽD took over the narrow-gauge railways and shut down most of them by 1959, including all 600 mm routes. Only part of the 750 mm lines continued to operate, switched to diesel operation and remained in operation until the end of the Soviet Union. Further sections were discontinued in Lithuania, which became independent in 1990. What remained was the route between the towns of Panevėžys and Anykščiai , continuing to Rubikiai (69 km). The rest of the route to Utena is closed.

A newly built section of a 600-millimeter narrow-gauge railway with a length of only 720 meters is located on Lake Galvio in Ignalina .


The 140-kilometer meter-gauge railways in Luxembourg were shut down in the decades after the Second World War.


In Poland, up to around 1990, there were sometimes very extensive narrow-gauge networks in almost all parts of the country; the 1000 mm and 750 mm gauges were particularly widespread. In Kujavia there were also public railways with a gauge of 600 mm. A special feature was the track width of 785 mm, which dates back to Prussian times, of the narrow-gauge network in Upper Silesia, which was mainly used for industrial purposes . The most extensive networks were in Pomerania and Kujawy as well as around Poznan . Most of the railways have been shut down in the years since 1990, but museum operations are still offered on some remaining routes.

Two-part meter-gauge diesel railcar near Aveiro in Portugal.

At the end of the 1980s, the meter-gauge lines operated by the Comboios de Portugal were more than 500 kilometers in length. The suburban line between Porto and Póvoa de Varzim was one of the busiest meter- gauge routes in Europe at the time. The Linha de Matosinhos and the Linha da Póvoa were rebuilt in 2002 to operate the standard-gauge Metro do Porto . Most of the other lines have ceased traffic. The Linha do Vouga is still in operation , but is in poor condition due to financial problems.

Steam locomotive Wassertalbahn the water Grasp.

The Wassertalbahn with 760 mm gauge is the last regularly operated forest railway in Romania. Narrow-gauge railways are nicknamed Mocăniţa in Romania .

Class Д2 multiple unit in Polyakowo ( Sakhalin ; 2011)
ТУ7А -3042 of the Karinskaya narrow-gauge railway with passenger train at the entrance to Karintorf (2007)

Narrow-gauge railways in Russia run almost exclusively on the 1067 mm and 750 mm gauges. The former are located on Sakhalin and are operated by the Russian Railways ( Rossijskije schelesnyje dorogi ; RŽD). From 1992 they formed an independent branch as Sakhalinskaya zhelesnaja doroga , before 1992 and today the railway network on Sakhalin belongs to the Dalnewostochnaja zhelesnaja doroga . In 2006 the route network was 805 kilometers long. The gauge has its origin in the Japanese railway network, which existed on the southern part of Sakhalin before 1945. Operationally there are no significant differences to the Russian broad-gauge network. Re-tracked broad gauge wagons are used as passenger wagons, freight wagons are transferred to the mainland by ferry. The express train and freight traffic is served with diesel locomotives of the series ТГ16 (TG16), in local traffic are used railcars of the series Д2 imported from Japan . A railway ferry is used to connect to the Russian mainland network . Because of the different track widths, it is necessary to re-track the translated railway wagons. Construction work to convert the island's route network to Russian broad gauge is underway. Its completion was originally announced for 2012.

Russian Railways operate children's railways in numerous cities , which continue the Soviet tradition of raising children to be interested in railroad careers. The children's railways have practically no transport tasks and are generally only in use in summer and often only on weekends. They almost exclusively have a track width of 750 mm.

The Soviet railways ( Sowetskije schelesnyje dorogi ; SŽD) operated numerous narrow-gauge railways in what is now Russia, most of which were switched to broad gauge or shut down before the Russian railways took over. With the cessation of traffic on the Tumskaya narrow-gauge railway in 2008, the operation of the Russian railways ended on 750 mm with the exception of the children's railways.

In Russia, there are still numerous narrow-gauge railways for forestry and peat management over 750 mm, and on shorter distances also for industrial companies. In 2006 around 150 narrow-gauge railways were still in operation, with a clearly decreasing trend. In many cases, however, the actual status of these railways cannot be reliably determined; due to the decreasing route lengths of the railways that are still in operation, information on the total length of the narrow-gauge railways is hardly possible. Most of the Russian narrow-gauge railways are forest railways, which primarily serve to remove wood, but sometimes also take over the supply of places that cannot be reached by road. These railways were and are predominantly in the northeast of the European part of Russia in the Oblasts of Vologda , Arkhangelsk , Kirov and the Republic of Komi , but also in the northwest of the Asian part of Russia ( Sverdlovsk Oblast ). In the last few years the number of peat tracks has decreased significantly, their focus was in the central area of ​​the European part of Russia (Oblast Moscow , Ryazan and Kirov ). Some of the forest and peat railways also carry passenger traffic if this is necessary to serve places without road connections. This does not always involve real public passenger transport, and in some cases only the use of company passenger trains by external parties is tolerated. The railways are owned by the respective forest or peat companies, in individual cases also by regional public administrations.

Particularly noteworthy among these courses are:

Locomotive in the Swedish gauge of 891 mm on the Jädraås – Tallås Järnväg

In Sweden, narrow-gauge lines have been built since 1873, predominantly in the typical Swedish gauge of 891 mm (equivalent to three Swedish feet). Some of the networks built by private operators reached considerable sizes. The largest network was built in Småland and Östergötland . It reached from Örebro to Torsås south of Kalmar and had a length of 1180 km. The second largest network was built in Västergötland , from Göteborg to Gullspång, between Vänern and Vättern , which in 1930 had a length of around 550 km at its largest. Smaller 891 mm nets were created with Stockholm – Roslagens Järnvägar northeast of Stockholm and on the islands of Öland and Gotland .

With a total of 630 km, the network built in Kapspur (1067 mm) in southern Sweden (between Halmstad on Kattegat and Torsås) reached a considerable length. In addition, individual routes in 600 mm, 802 mm, 1093 mm, 1188 mm and 1217 mm gauge were built in Sweden.

Modern narrow-gauge train towards Österskär on the Roslagsbana

The Swedish narrow-gauge railways were all built by private companies - as were large parts of the standard-gauge network. In the course of the nationalization of the Swedish rail network since 1930, almost all narrow-gauge lines came into the possession of the state railway Statens Järnvägar (SJ) from 1933 to 1952 . The SJ owned 2,324 km of 891-mm lines and 433 km of 1067-mm lines, but soon began to shut down most lines. Some lines were converted to standard gauge between 1954 and 1978 , for example between Kristianstad and Karlskrona (previously 1067 mm) or between Åtvidaberg and Västervik (previously 891 mm).

Although new vehicles were still purchased for parts of the narrow-gauge railways, most routes were shut down from 1953, beginning with the railways on Gotland, until 1986. All that remained was an electrified network of the former Stockholm – Roslagens Järnvägar near Stockholm, which is now integrated into Stockholm's suburban traffic under the name Roslagsbanan , as well as individual museum railways.

Meter-gauge multiple unit Stadler GTW 2/6 of the Electric Tatra Railway in Slovakia.

In Slovakia today there are the meter-gauge Electric Tatra Railway and the narrow-gauge railway Trenčianska Teplá – Trenčianske Teplice with a 760 mm gauge. The Ružomberok – Korytnica narrow-gauge railway and the Göllnitz Valley Railway with the Gelnica - Smolnícka Huta railway line are no longer in operation. In Kosice nor the Children's Railway runs Detská železnica Kosice , a former pioneer railway .

The K 3 Gonobitz locomotive procured for the local railway to Konjice is now in the Ljubljana Railway Museum .

Two narrow-gauge railways on what is now Slovenian national territory were built in Bosnian gauge during the Austro-Hungarian rule . The Poljčane – Slovenske Konjice local railway was opened in 1892 and extended to Zreče in 1921 . In 1962, operations on the 21.0-kilometer route were stopped. Porečanka , opened in 1902, led from Trieste via the Slovenian Koper to Poreč (Italian Parenzo ) in today's Croatia. After the break-up of Austria-Hungary, the Italian State Railways (FS) took over operations, but closed the line in 1935.

The Cividale del Friuli - Kobarid line was built in 1915 by the Italians with 750 mm gauge to supply the Isonzo front . The 27.8-kilometer route was in operation for civil traffic from 1921 to 1932. From 1948 to 1954 there was a pioneer railway in Ljubljana in the Bosnian track.

The wood-paneled railcars from the opening time of Ferrocarril de Sóller on Mallorca are still in operation.

Various narrow-gauge networks exist in Spain . The meter-gauge network of Ferrocarriles de Vía Estrecha (FEVE) and EuskoTren , which extends in northern Spain along the coast from the Basque Country on the French border to Galicia , is very extensive and, at around 1200 km, one of the longest European narrow-gauge networks . The FEVE also operate a barely traveled route from Bilbao to León and a short regional route near Cartagena . In Catalonia , the operator Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) offers some additional narrow-gauge S-Bahn lines. The former narrow-gauge lines near Valencia have been fully integrated into the metro network. The route from Alicante to Denia is gradually being converted into a tram . The narrow-gauge suburban lines from Málaga have been closed except for the line to Fuengirola , which has been converted into broad-gauge, whereby the integration into the future metro network is also planned. The Metro Bilbao is partly based on a former FEVE narrow-gauge line. The Montserrat and Núria cog railways also run on meter gauge.

Rail transport in Mallorca is operated by the state-run meter- gauge railway Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca and the private Ferrocarril de Sóller with 914 mm gauge. The Metro de Palma also runs on a narrow gauge.

Main article: Rail transport in Mallorca

Czech Republic
Train of the Jindřichohradecké místní dráhy near Dolni Skrychov in the south of the Czech Republic.

In today's Czech Republic there were and are only a few narrow-gauge railways, most of which, as in Austria, were carried out in the Bosnian gauge of 760 mm. At the time, the Bohemian Landtag only granted financial subsidies for standard-gauge railways, so that a narrow-gauge version was out of the question for most private local railways. The lines of the Silesian State Railroad , which were licensed as local railways and operated an extensive, electrified network with a track width of 760 mm in the Moravian-Silesian industrial area, had a special position .

Two lines of the Jindřichohradecké místní dráhy and the Třemešná ve Slezsku – Osoblaha line are still preserved today , all of which are still operated by regular local rail transport. A meter-gauge overland tram runs between Liberec and Jablonec nad Nisou . In addition, there were still some narrow-gauge industrial railways in different gauges.

Passenger trains also run on the Lillafüredi Állami Erdei Vasút forest railway in Hungary.

There are three narrow-gauge railways (750 mm) for passenger traffic in Ukraine: the Borschawatalbahn in Transcarpathia , the Antonivka – Saritschne railway in the Rivne Oblast , and the Hajworon narrow-gauge network in the Vinnytsia and Kirovohrad Oblasts .

There are children's railways in Dnipro , Donetsk , Kharkiv , Kiev , Lutsk , Lviv , Rivne and Zaporizhia .

Diesel locomotive on the Hajworon narrow-gauge network in Ukraine.

Most of the public Hungarian narrow-gauge railways had a track width of 760 mm , the tourist use of some of the remaining lines is gaining in importance. In several regions there were extensive commercial or forest railway networks with a gauge of 600 mm or 760 mm.

United Kingdom
Porthmadog harbor station of the Ffestiniog Railway in 1994.
6.5 t coal wagon of the Ffestiniog Railway. This car was imported from South Africa in 2013 and still has the color of the SAR .
Train of the Welsh Highland Railway with a gauge of 610 mm. The Garratt locomotive SAR class NGG 16 was imported from South Africa in 1997.

Starting from narrow-gauge mine railways with gauges in an area between about 2 and 3 feet, connecting railways to the “big” railroad or to ports were created, which were conveniently designed in the gauge of the connected pits or quarries. One of the earliest was the Nantlle Railway , which opened in 1828 and has now disappeared, between some slate quarries in the Nantlle Valley and the port of Caernarfon in Wales . It was three feet (1067 mm) track and was operated by horses until it was discontinued in the 1960s . The Ffestiniog Railway, which opened in 1832, between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog , like the connected slate quarries, had a gauge of just under two feet (597 mm). Narrow-gauge steam locomotives were successfully used on this line for the first time in 1863 . The steam-powered Ffestiniog Railway was a great success and therefore became the model for other two-foot narrow-gauge railways, e.g. B. Welsh Highland Railway , Vale of Rheidol Railway and Lynton and Barnstaple Railway in Great Britain and finally also in southern Africa and India ( Darjeeling Himalayan Railway ).

The Talyllyn Railway is considered the first British narrow-gauge railway that was also allowed to carry passengers and in 1951 it became the world's first volunteer-run museum railway. However, the 2.25 foot (686 mm) track did not catch on; they are usually only found on the nearby Corris Railway . The 2.5 foot gauge (762 mm) of the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway is also comparatively rare in Great Britain.

The Glasgow Subway , which opened in 1896, has the unusual four-foot (1219 mm) gauge. It is now operated as the only modern narrow-gauge railway in Great Britain. Many other narrow-gauge railways have been preserved as museum railways or newly built on the route of disused standard-gauge railways. Together with the rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway, the Ffestiniog Railway forms the largest contiguous narrow-gauge system in Great Britain with a length of 64 km.

The Greig & Beadon's Patent Light Railway was a British patent.


On the island of Cyprus there was the narrow-gauge, state-run Cyprus Government Railway from 1904 to 1951 from the port of Famagusta via Nicosia to the port of Morphou . The track width was 762 mm (2 ′ 6 ″). In addition, the Cyprus Mines Corporation Mineral Railway existed with the same gauge . This route was discontinued at the latest after the Turkish invasion in the north of the island in 1974.

Africa (according to gauges)

Garratt steam locomotive on the South African Railways. Garratt locomotives were widespread on the narrow-gauge lines in southern Africa. Their low center of gravity , even with a large boiler , is advantageous because of the risk of tipping over in narrow-gauge operation.
Cape gauge trains of the Gauteng Metrorail on a parking field near Johannesburg.

Narrow gauge railways are widespread in Africa and were built there by the respective colonial powers. In Southern Africa , the Cape Gauge (1067 mm, 3.5 feet) is the predominant gauge in which a high quality rail network has been established. Branch lines were often built with a gauge of 610 mm; the stretch from Port Elizabeth to Avontuur is 283 kilometers, the longest stretch of this gauge in the world.

Cape Track

In southern Africa from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Africa and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania there is a coherent Cape Gauge network .

Passenger train with EMD diesel locomotive in Zimbabwe in 1990.

With around 20,000 kilometers of Cape Gauge, South Africa has the longest narrow-gauge network in the world. In 2008 there were also 122 kilometers of 750 millimeter tracks and 314 kilometers of 610 mm tracks. In addition to freight traffic, suburban traffic plays an important role in the metropolitan areas. There are also long-distance trains - mostly called Shosholoza Meyl - with sometimes long routes. Lesotho only has a 1.6-kilometer connection from the capital Maseru to the South African route network. Swaziland's rail transport has a west-east route and a north-south route for freight that connect with South Africa and Mozambique. In Mozambique there are several independent sub-networks in the Cape Gauge. The connection of the railway networks from Beira and Nacala is via Malawi . The company in Mozambique has been advertised internationally since 2004. There is mainly freight traffic to and from the ports on the Indian Ocean.

TransNamib freight train with the Karas Mountains in the background.

All routes still in operation in Zimbabwe today are built in the Cape Gauge common in southern Africa . Most of the routes are operated by the state NRZ . Due to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the railway operations of the NRZ are severely restricted. Botswana is connected to South Africa and Zimbabwe via the north-south connection operated by Botswana Railways in Kapspur. A little more than half of the freight traffic in Zambia is used to transport the copper ores from the Copperbelt mining region . On the TAZARA route to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania , opened in 1976, there is little traffic because the port of Dar es Salaam does not work efficiently. The route, built for political reasons, was intended to reduce Zambia's dependence on South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The wide-meshed Cape Gauge network of Namibia is operated by TransNamib , with freight transport playing a major role. Since the mid-1990s, many of the more than 100-year-old sections of the route have been renovated. By the Caminhos de Ferro de Angola operated railway lines in Angola have been created largely in Cape gauge and used for freight and passenger traffic. The Benguela Railway , which was destroyed in the Angolan civil war , was converted to standard gauge and reopened in 2015. The rail traffic in the Democratic Republic of Congo is of the SNCC operated and takes place on several independent railway networks with different track gauges. The railways are primarily used for the removal of mining products. The southern network in Kapspur is connected to the Benguela Railway from Angola.

In other states there are isolated cape gauge stretches. Launched by the Nigerian Railway Corporation operated railway network in Nigeria amounts to 3,505 kilometers and is in good shape. The government wants to convert all main lines to standard gauge. The Congo-Ocean Railway is a 510-kilometer cape gauge line in the Republic of the Congo , a branch line leads to the border with Gabon. The entire stretch of the Congo-Ocean Railway is in poor condition. The maintenance of the rail network in Ghana has been neglected in recent years, so that in 2006 only the route between Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi was regularly used. There are currently plans to convert and expand the rail network to standard gauge. Rail traffic in Sudan and South Sudan was replaced by road traffic and has only been of minor importance since the 1990s. In Sierra Leone , the mining company African Minerals operates a railroad for transporting raw materials. The carriage of iron ore on the Mano River Railway in Liberia was suspended because of the Liberian Civil War .

Meter gauge

Diesel train on meter gauge in the Tunisian Sfax station .

In Tunisia , a large part of the network operated by the Tunisian state railways SNCFT consists of meter-gauge lines, including the Tunis - Sfax line , which is the main axis in north-south traffic. Passenger trains hauled by diesel locomotives travel at up to 130 km / h, which is probably a record for meter gauge.

There is a continuous meter gauge network in Tanzania , Kenya and Uganda . The Uganda Railway , which connected Mombasa in Kenya via Nairobi and Kampala with Kasese in Uganda, is still in operation as far as Kampala. A cross-border traffic from Tanzania to Uganda ( ferry from Mwanza ) and to Kenya is due to political differences and unrest in decades rather than more.

Night train on the Douala – Ngaoundéré line in Cameroon.

The Abidjan-Niger Railway connects Abidjan in the Ivory Coast with Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso . The railway line, on which goods and passenger trains run daily, is one of the most important lifelines in the landlocked country of Burkina Faso.

The north-south route in Benin has been extended northwards since 2014 to connect it with the recently established route in Niger. In addition, Benin used to have two narrow-gauge railways with a gauge of 600 mm. In Niger there was no railway at all until 2009 and now a new line 140 kilometers in length.

Cameroon's railways are used for both passenger and freight traffic. There is a night train connection with sleeping cars between Yaounde and Ngaundere . The rail network has no connection to neighboring countries. The rail network in Guinea consists of normal and meter gauge branch lines that lead from the coast into the interior. The progressive development of raw material deposits is leading to a revitalization of the railways in Guinea. The Dakar – Niger railway , which connects Dakar in Senegal with Koulikoro in Mali , is in need of renovation . In Madagascar , too, the four meter gauge lines have been in poor condition since independence.

When the meter-gauge line from Addis Ababa – Djibouti fell into disrepair , inland Ethiopia lost access to the seaports in Djibouti . The railway line is currently being rebuilt in standard gauge. Only a small part of the rail network in Togo is still in operation. Rail transport on Réunion has been abandoned, but most of the route network is still in place.

Further gauges

Eritrean railway in Italian meter gauge.

About a fifth of the rail network in Algeria operated by the SNTF consists of lines with a gauge of 1,050 mm. In addition to the two main gauges, standard gauge and 1055 mm, railways with gauges of 1000 mm, 800 mm, 750 mm and 600 mm were built over the years, which have since been shut down or re- gauged .

In Sudan there are 1,400 kilometers of 600 mm tracks in cotton plantations . The Massaua – Biscia railway in Eritrea with a gauge of 950 mm is currently only used for tourist purposes. In 1974, public rail transport in Sierra Leone was discontinued on a gauge of 762 mm. Railway operations in Somalia on three different gauges were given up during World War II. In the Central African Republic , a short railway line with a gauge of 600 mm was in operation until 1960. Rail traffic in Rwanda consisted of only three factory-owned industrial railways, also with a gauge of 600 mm.

America (by gauges)

In South America, the meter gauge plays an important role in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. There are also other gauges.

Meter gauge

Freight train on meter gauge in the Argentine province of Salta .
Belgrano Railway network

In Argentina , the rail network has a length of around 28,300 kilometers in three gauges of 1676 mm, normal and meter. The longest meter-gauge railway is the General Manuel Belgrano Railway. The routes departing from Buenos Aires lead to the center and north of the country and earlier to Bolivia. The tourist train Tren a las Nubes provides the connection to Chile. Until 1984 there was the Transandenbahn, another meter-gauge railway line with rack and pinion sections to Chile. In long-distance traffic, the railroad hardly plays a role in passenger transport because of its low speed compared to intercity buses . The tourist train FCAF on Tierra del Fuego with a gauge of 600 mm is the southernmost railway in the world.

Ferrobús in Bolivia
Brazilian mining companies rely on rail traffic. Meter gauge diesel locomotives of the
EFVM in front of a freight train.

The obsolete railway network in Bolivia comprises 3700 kilometers of meter-gauge lines, is divided into two parts and is operated by two companies, the FCA on the Altiplano plateau and the FOSA in the Bolivian lowlands. Ferrobússe are used on routes threatened with closure . The vehicles were originally designed for road use and subsequently fitted with a rail chassis. The Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia and the Arica – La Paz railway connect Bolivia with Chile . The railway network there consists of two subnetworks due to different gauges. 40 kilometers of the 2923-kilometer meter gauge network north of Santiago are operated electrically. There is no passenger traffic on this meter-gauge network.

The rail network in Brazil in 2008 comprised 30,247 kilometers, of which 23,424 kilometers were meter gauge. Other gauges are 600, 760, 1435 and 1600 mm. The network is very small for the size of the country and is generally in poor condition. There is hardly any passenger traffic any more. Freight traffic, on the other hand, is increasing again in some areas due to the congestion of the roads, in particular the large mining companies are dependent on rail traffic. Of the meter -gauge railways used for tourism, the Corcovado mountain railway and the Estrada de Ferro Campos do Jordão are worth mentioning.

In addition to the regular standard gauge network in Cuba , the cultivation of sugar cane resulted in an extensive network of standard gauge and 160 kilometers of narrow gauge routes. They are used to transport the freshly harvested sugar cane to the sugar refineries and the end products to the ports.

Other gauges

PeruRail trains with 914 mm gauge take tourists to Machu Picchu .

In the United States, there was an extensive network of narrow-gauge railways with a gauge of 914 mm (3 feet). At the time of its greatest expansion around 1880, it had a length of around 4500 kilometers. However, most of the lines were later converted to standard gauge or closed. Today there are only a few narrow-gauge routes that are usually only used for tourism.

Colombia has a rail network of around 2000 kilometers in 914 mm gauge. Its maintenance was neglected and the transport of goods fell sharply. Passenger traffic is limited to three short tourist routes in the Bogotá area . With the exception of the 914 mm Cusco – Machu Picchu route , which takes tourists to the prehistoric Inca settlement of Machu Picchu , Peru's railways usestandard gauge. Guatemala once had a railway network with a gauge of 914 mm and an extension of 896 kilometers. In 2007, rail operations were stopped and all transports were shifted to trucks and buses. The network in El Salvador with the same gauge is still operated 12.5 kilometers.

The three railway lines in northern Honduras , which were built mainly for the transport of bananas, have a gauge of 1067 mm (Cape gauge) and 914 mm.

Trains in Ecuador and Costa Rica also run on Cape Gauge. In 1998, El Niño damaged large parts of the route network in Ecuador so severely that only a few sections of the 965-kilometer route network remained in operation for tourists. The network was restored from 2009 under President Rafael Correa . In Costa Rica , rail traffic was completely shut down around the year 2000, and some lines have been reactivated since then.

Sugar cane, corn and bananas are transported on the 762 mm routes in the Dominican Republic . A 50 kilometer long railway in St. Kitts and Nevis with a 762 mm gauge is used for tourism.



E351 East Japan Railway Company multiple unit as Express Super Azusa

Most of the Japanese railways are built in Cape Gauge. As a result, Japan has one of the largest narrow-gauge networks in the world. Because this track is not suitable for proper high-speed transport, which were from the 1960s Shinkansen - high-speed lines to standard gauge built.

In addition to some non-electrified lines, Japan's Cape Gauge Railways have three different power systems. The route network on the southern island of Shikoku and, with a few exceptions, on the main island of Honshū is electrified with 1500 volts direct current . The network on the northern island of Hokkaidō is operated with 20,000 volts 50 Hz alternating current. The same electricity system is used on the western island of Kyushu , but with a network frequency of 60 Hertz.

The railway company Keiō Dentetsu and the Toei Shinjuku metro line in Tokyo use the rare track gauge of 1372 mm. This so-called Scottish gauge is also used on the Tokyo tram and the Hakodate tram . Most forest and industrial railways with a gauge of 762 mm are no longer in operation.

middle East

Special steam train on the Hejaz Railway. A carriage for transporting water is lined up behind the locomotive.
Aqababahn freight train in Jordan on 1050 mm gauge.

(The country names are linked to articles that describe rail transport in the respective country.)

In the Middle East there was the Hejaz Railway and the branch lines branching off from it, a network with a 1050 mm gauge. The 1322-kilometer main line ran from Damascus in Syria via Dar'a and Amman in Jordan to Medina in what is now Saudi Arabia . A branch line branched off from Dar'a in Syria to Haifa in present-day Israel and was continued to the Sinai Peninsula during the First World War . With additional branches, the network reached a maximum extension of 1,585 kilometers in 1917.

The Lebanon Railway and the Hauran Railway connected to it ran from Beirut in Lebanon via Damascus in Syria to Muzairib . Despite the same gauge, there was no connection to the Hejaz Railway.

Of these railway lines, only sections of the Hejaz Railway are still in operation. Occasional traffic takes place from Damascus via Dar'a to Bosra . In Jordan all railway lines are in meter gauge. It market operate trains from Amman to Az Zarqa , and on a portion of Hedschasbahn and on the Aqaba Railway Corporation is phosphate from Abiad and Wadi el Hassan to the port of Aqaba transported.

South East Asia

From Alstom -built meter gauge diesel locomotive of the State Railway of Thailand .

With a total length of over 13,000 kilometers, narrow-gauge railways are also widespread in the countries of the rear Indian peninsula . In Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, the entire long-distance railway network is implemented in meter gauge, as is the case in Vietnam and Malaysia, where a standard-gauge line still exists.

In Thailand , the SRT operates a rail network of more than 4000 kilometers in meter gauge, which starts in a star shape from Bangkok . The most famous structure is the bridge over the Kwai of the former Thailand-Burma Railway . The Thai Southern Railway connects to the Malaysian State Railway. A short stretch of Thai track leads over the Mekong to Laos , which otherwise has no rail traffic. The rail connections to Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia are no longer in operation.

A Malaysian KTM train coming from Singapore .

The meter gauge network in Malaysia covers around 1700 kilometers, with the majority running on the mainland and operated by KTM . A new line was designed for 160 km / h. In the south there is a connection to Singapore , with the entire railway system being owned by Malaysia. On the island of Borneo , the Sabah State Railway operates a 134-kilometer-long meter-gauge line.

The railway network in Vietnam consists of a smaller proportion of standard gauge and meter-gauge lines of around 2,200 kilometers in length. The main route is the 1,700-kilometer route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City . In the north of Vietnam, some sections of the route are designed as three- rail tracks. The Yunnan Railway connects Hanoi to Kunming in China . The Chinese section is to be converted to standard gauge.

Rail traffic in Myanmar is handled by the state-owned Myanma Railways . The approximately 5100 km long meter gauge network is largely in poor condition. The 602 kilometer long railway network in Cambodia consists of the northwest line and the southwest line. Cross-border lines no longer exist in both countries.

The rail network in Indonesia with a length of around 4,000 kilometers is mainly built in Cape Gauge and is operated by Kereta Api Indonesia . Standard gauge is used for new buildings in Aceh and Sulawesi . The lines around Jakarta are electrified with 1500 volts direct current . The 1067 mm gauge is also used in the Philippines . Essentially the only railway line is operated by the PNR .

Other countries

The Hong Kong tram double-decker cars are extremely popular with tourists.

The first railways in China, such as the Wusung Railway , which opened in 1876, were built with a gauge of 762 mm. Today, the narrow-gauge routes with 670 kilometers of meter gauge and 500 kilometers of 762 mm gauge are hardly of any importance compared to the standard gauge network. The Hong Kong trams with a gauge of 1067 mm only run with double-decker cars . Taiwan was a colony of the Japanese Empire from 1895 to 1945 . The extensive conventional Taiwanese rail network with a length of around 1,100 kilometers is built in Cape Gauge. Only the high-speed trains of the Taiwan High Speed ​​Rail and the Taipei Metro run on standard gauge. Long-distance express trains developed on the basis of the Japanese Shinkansen have been running on the narrow-gauge main line, which forms a closed ring line around the island, since 2007 . The Alishan Forest Railway and the sugar railways in Taiwan with 762 mm gauge are used for tourism today.

... and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway , India's only rack railway.
... Darjeeling Himalayan Railway passing a fruit shop ...
Three Indian narrow-gauge railways are part of the UNESCO World Heritage : Rail bus on the Kalka-Shimla Railway , ...

In North Korea , in addition to the standard gauge, there is an approximately 375 km long network with a gauge of 762 mm, which, like the standard gauge lines , is operated by the Korean State Railways .

In India , only gauges that are narrower than one meter are referred to as narrow gauge. The narrow-gauge network, around 4,000 kilometers long, has gauges of just 610 mm and 762 mm. The meter gauge network there is considerably more extensive, but it is increasingly being converted to the Indian broad gauge . Three narrow-gauge mountain railways in India have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List . The remaining meter gauge lines in Pakistan are also to be switched to Indian broad gauge. The only railway line in Nepal has a gauge of 762 mm and is operated by Nepal Railways .

Australia and Oceania

A Cape gauge local train and the standard gauge Indian Pacific leave Perth. Both trains run on three-rail tracks.
The “QR Tilt Train” in Queensland runs at 160 km / h on Cape Gauge.

Before 1901, the decision on the gauge was a matter for the individual colonies in Australia . Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory as well as partly South Australia and the federal railways decided on the inexpensive Cape Gauge. As the networks grew together, the different gauges created significant operational problems. There were up to 36 lane changing stations in Australia . In 1921 the standard gauge was established as the standard for Australia. For cost reasons, this was partly followed by three-rail tracks or by gauging . The federal railway ultimately built all of its new lines in standard gauge.

The Queensland railroad consists mostly of Cape Gauge routes. Tilting trains (“ QR Tilt Train”) have been running at speeds of up to 160 km / h since 1998. A train of this type set the Australian speed record in 1999 at 210 km / h. Over 2,000 kilometers are electrified with 25,000 volts 50 Hertz alternating current . In addition, there are around 20 networks of sugar cane railways in Queensland, usually with a track width of 610 mm. Some of these have a high technical standard with continuous train brakes and sections of routes with concrete sleepers . Most of the rail network in Western Australia also has a gauge of 1067 mm. There is a three- rail track between Perth and Northam , the continuation to the Transaustralian Railway is standard gauge. The suburban lines of Perth are electrified with 25,000 volts 50 Hertz alternating current.

Freight train with two EF series locomotives on the North Island Main Trunk Railway in New Zealand.

The railways in South Australia are characterized by an abundant variety of gauges, even by Australian standards. Most of the narrow-gauge lines in the south were switched to broad-gauge between 1953 and 1956, in the northern part of the country they were partially replaced by broad-gauge or standard-gauge lines or operations were discontinued. Only the routes starting from Port Lincoln , which were never connected to the rest of the network, remained as a larger network. The Cape Gauge Lines in Tasmania connect all major settlement centers on the island. Today only freight trains run , usually as block trains . Passenger traffic has ceased, but museum trains run in some sections . In the Northern Territory there is a single standard gauge line, the lines with 1067 mm gauge are no longer in operation.

New Zealand has an approximately 4,000-kilometer-long route network in Kapspur, of which approximately 500 kilometers are electrified with 1,500 volts direct current or 25,000 volts 50 hertz alternating current. The track width of 1067 mm made it easier to route in mountainous terrain. The rail network connects most of the major cities of the North Island and the South Island of New Zealand. The railway is mainly used for freight traffic, passenger traffic only plays an important role in the metropolitan areas of Auckland and Wellington .

The rail network in Fiji is 595 kilometers long, but is limited to railways with a gauge of 600 mm for transporting sugar cane to the Lautoka refinery .

There is a 3.9 km long narrow-gauge railway on Nauru . It was 1907 in the track 2 ' erected (610 mm) and 1920 to 3' (914 mm) umgespurt .

See also


  • E. Buresch: The narrow-gauge railway from Ocholt to Westerstede. Hanover 1877.
  • Max Mayer: Esslingen locomotives, wagons and mountain railways. Berlin 1924.
  • Günther Klebes: The narrow-gauge railways of the German Reich in 1942, including the railways in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Generalgouvernement (Eastern Railway), in Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg as well as Austria. Krefeld 1978.
  • GH Metzeltin: The gauges of the railways. A lexicon on the battle for gauge. German Society for railway history e. V., Karlsruhe 1974.
  • Krobot, Slezak, Sternhart: Narrow-gauge through Austria. 4th edition. Slezak publishing house, 1991, ISBN 3-85416-095-X .
  • A. Horn: The railways in Bosnia and Herzegovina, special issue railways. Magazine publisher Ployer & Co., Vienna 1964.
  • PJG Ransom: Narrow Gauge Steam - It's 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 0-7153-0196-9 .
  • Hans-Bernhard Schönborn: Narrow Gauge Railways in Greece. Edition Ergasias, 1997, ISBN 3-909221-32-7 .
  • Keith Chester: East European Narrow Gauge. Locomotives International, 1995, ISBN 1-873150-04-0 .
  • Rail extra: Narrow-gauge rail atlas. Geranova, Munich Bahn-Extra 9502 1995 ISSN  0937-7174 .
  • Paul Engelbert: Narrow gauge through Bulgaria. Stenvalls Verlag, Malmö 2002, ISBN 91-7266-155-0 .
  • Paul Engelbert: Narrow-gauge through Hungary. Stenvalls Verlag, Malmö 2007, ISBN 978-91-7266-169-1 .
  • Manuel Dotzauer: Narrow-gauge railway landscape Germany: the last of their kind. An up-to-date guide. KellnerVerlag, Bremen 2011, ISBN 978-3-939928-70-6 .
  • Peter FN Hörz, Marcus Richter: "Monuments of the history of production and transport": How some narrow-gauge railways in the GDR were saved from being shut down and reinterpreted as a genetic material. In: Folklore in Saxony. 26 (2014), pp. 103-134.

Web links

Commons : Narrow Gauge Railways  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Narrow gauge railway  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Notes and individual references

  1. a b c M. Fasbender: The most practical narrow gauge. In: The Locomotive. January 1920, accessed on April 10, 2016 (In ANNO, Historische Österreichische Zeitung und Zeitschriften).
  2. z. B. Josef Hardegger: 100 years of the Gaiserbahn . A chapter of eventful railway history in Appenzellerland. Schläpfer + Co., Herisau 1989, ISBN 3-85882-063-6 .
  3. JR von Wenusch: The railways of Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzogewina . In: Journal of the Austrian Association of Engineers and Architects . Issue 36, 1903, pp. 491 ff . ( [PDF; 33.1 MB ; accessed on March 1, 2016]).
  4. Fasbender ( The most practical narrow gauge. In: Die Lokomotive. 1920) contradicts the view that a narrower gauge allows tighter curve radii: “The wheelbase and the smallest curve are related to the cargo length. ... The means of negotiating sharp curves are the same for all gauges; the city's standard-gauge trams have the tightest curves. "
  5. The results for long-distance and freight transport are not taken into account.
  6. The measure: meter gauge. Information service for public transport (LITRA), Bern, October 30, 2009. p. 12.
  7. ^ Žarko Filipović: Electric railways: basics, locomotives, power supply . Springer, 2004, ISBN 3-540-55093-3 .
  8. Swiss record on meter gauge: New Stadler train travels 133.49 km / h on the RBS ( Memento from May 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). In: press release. Regional traffic Bern – Solothurn, July 14, 2009, accessed on April 1, 2016.
  9. 1200 mm, 1000 mm, 800 mm and 750 mm, see list of narrow-gauge railways in Switzerland .
  10. 600∓200 V direct current, 1000∓250 V direct current, 1500 V direct current as well as 11,000 V 16.7 Hz and 15,000 V 16.7 Hz alternating current, see list of narrow-gauge railways in Switzerland .
  11. Compressed air brake , vacuum brake for freely usable rolling stock from RhB and MGB .
  12. Jean-Marc Forclaz, Christoph Gyr, Christoph Weiss: Development of the EV09 track-changing bogie . In: Swiss Railway Review . No. 8 . Minirex, 2011, ISSN  1022-7113 , p. 382-386 .
  13. See also: : “The beginnings of the narrow-gauge railways in Upper Silesia go back to the beginning of the 19th century, when the first horse-powered railways were opened. On March 24, 1851, the Upper Silesian Railway Company was granted the concession document to build and operate an Upper Silesian narrow-gauge railway. The first lines, which were built with a gauge of 30 Prussian feet (785 mm), were built between 1851 and 1854. "
  14. Werner Hormann: On the historical-geographical significance of the Vorpommern small and secondary railways , p. 173. In: Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald (ed.): Pommern - history, culture, science. 1st Colloquium on Pomeranian History, November 13-15 , 1990 , Greifswald 1991, ISBN 3-86006-038-4
  15. Ulrich Volkmer: The prehistory of the Strohgäubahn . In: Ludwigsburg history sheets . tape 79 , 2016, p. 180 .
  16. Minutes of the plenary sessions of the Württemberg state parliament, volumes 1888 ff .
  17. Hans-Joachim Knupfer: Five reds from Mosbach . In: Railway history . Issue 89, 2018 (as well as issues 90 to 92).
  18. Jens Malling: With “Kukuschka” through the mountains. In: New Germany . June 25, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016 .
  19. ^ Peter Willen: Locomotives of Switzerland, narrow-gauge traction vehicles . Orell Füssli Verlag, Zurich 1972.
  20. ^ Trond Bergh: Norwegian railway engineers and the narrow gauge ( Memento from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 55 kB). In:, July 2001, accessed on November 11, 2019.
  21. George Woodman Hilton: American narrow gauge railroads, ISBN 0-8047-1731-1 , p. 10 ( online , accessed July 30, 2010).
  22. Elmārs Barkāns: Gulbenes - Alūksnes mazbānītis no rītiem vairs nebrauks. In:, January 31, 2010, accessed June 30, 2018 (Latvian).
  23. ^ A b Historical Overview of the Narrow Gauge Railways in Lithuania. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on November 12, 2013 ; accessed on January 22, 2012 (English, empty mementos).
  24. João Paulo Martins, Madalena Brion, Miguel de Sousa, Maurício Levy and Óscar Amorim: O Caminho de Ferro Revisitado . O Caminho de Ferro em Portugal de 1856 a 1996. Ed .: Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses. 1996, p. 66 (Portuguese).
  25. Tumskaya narrow-gauge railway
  26. Narrow gauge railways in Russia
  27. Alapayevsk Forest Railway
  28. ↑ Apsheronsk Forest Railway
  29. Karinskaya Narrow Gauge Railway
  30. Kudemskaya Narrow Gauge Railway
  31. The Transgabonais is the only railway in Gabon. It is built in the standard gauge, which is unusual in southern Africa.
  32. Niger building rail link to Benin's largest city. Al Jazeera Media Network, Business & Economy, April 14, 2016 ( YouTube ).
  33. As of 2016.
  34. a b c d Country Comparison to the World. In: The World Factbook. Accessed May 1, 2016 .
  35. a b See General Manuel Belgrano Railway in Wikipedia.
  36. ^ Ferroviário ( Memento of March 27, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). Overview 2009. ANTT Brazilian Ministry of Transport (Brazilian Portuguese).
  37. ^ Infraestrutura Ferroviária. In:, accessed on November 11, 2019.
  38. See Narrow gauge railways in China in Wikipedia.