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A narrow-gauge railway (narrow-gauge railroad in the US) is a
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, which are located on tracks. In contrast to road transport, where the vehicles run on a prepared flat surf ...
with a
track gauge In rail transport Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, which are located on tracks. In contrast to road transport, where the vehicles run o ...

track gauge
narrower than standard . Most narrow-gauge railways are between and . Since narrow-gauge railways are usually built with tighter curves, smaller
structure gauge A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organized. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings and machines and natural objects such as o ...
s, and lighter rails, they can be less costly to build, equip, and operate than standard- or broad-gauge railways (particularly in mountainous or difficult terrain). Lower-cost narrow-gauge railways are often used in mountainous terrain, where engineering savings can be substantial. Lower-cost narrow-gauge railways are often built to serve industries as well as sparsely populated communities where the traffic potential would not justify the cost of a standard- or broad-gauge line. Narrow-gauge railways have specialized use in mines and other environments where a small
structure gauge A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organized. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings and machines and natural objects such as o ...
necessitates a small
loading gauge File:Lichtraumprofil.png, minimum clearance outline in Germany (left: main tracks; right: other tracks) A loading gauge defines the maximum height and width for Rail transport, railway vehicles and their loads to ensure that they can pass safely ...
. In some countries, narrow gauge is the standard;
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,
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Indonesia
,
Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main islan ...
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands, coveri ...
, South Africa, and the Australian states of
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,
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and
Tasmania Tasmania (; abbreviated as Tas, nicknamed Tassie, xpz, Lutruwita; Palawa kani: ''Lutruwita'') is an island States and territories of Australia, state of Australia. It is located to the south of the Mainland Australia, Australian mainland, ...
have a gauge, and
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two reg ...

Malaysia
and
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have metre-gauge railways. Narrow-gauge
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s, particularly metre-gauge, are common in Europe. Non-industrial, narrow-gauge mountain railways are (or were) common in the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, ...
of the United States and the Pacific Cordillera (Canada), Pacific Cordillera of Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, and Costa Rica.


Nomenclature

A narrow-gauge railway is one where the distance between the inside edges of the rails is less than . Historically, the term was sometimes used to refer to standard-gauge railways, to distinguish them from broad-gauge railways, but this use no longer applies.


History


Early hand-worked lines

'', showing a narrow-gauge railway in a mine The earliest recorded railway appears in Georgius Agricola's 1556 ''De re metallica'', which shows a mine in Bohemia with a railway of about gauge. During the 16th century, railways were primarily restricted to hand-pushed, narrow-gauge lines in mines throughout Europe. In the 17th century, mine railways were extended to provide transportation above ground. These lines were industrial railway, 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 from which they developed.


Introduction of steam

The world's first steam locomotive, built in 1802 by Richard Trevithick for the Coalbrookdale Company, ran on a plateway. The first commercially successful steam locomotive was Matthew Murray's Salamanca (locomotive), Salamanca built in 1812 for the Middleton Railway in Leeds. Salamanca was also the first Rack railway, rack-and-pinion locomotive. During the 1820s and 1830s, a number of industrial narrow-gauge railways in the United Kingdom used steam locomotives. In 1842, the first narrow-gauge steam locomotive outside the UK was built for the -gauge Antwerp-Ghent Railway in Belgium. The first use of steam locomotives on a public, passenger-carrying narrow-gauge railway was in 1865, when the Ffestiniog Railway introduced passenger service after receiving its first locomotives two years earlier.


Industrial use

Many narrow-gauge railways were part of industrial enterprises and served primarily as industrial railways, rather than general carriers. Common uses for these industrial narrow-gauge railways included mining, logging, construction, tunnelling, quarrying, and conveying agricultural products. Extensive narrow-gauge networks were constructed in many parts of the world; 19th-century mountain logging operations often used narrow-gauge railways to transport logs from mill to market. Significant sugarcane railways still operate in Cuba, Fiji, Java, the Philippines, and Queensland, and narrow-gauge railway equipment remains in common use for building tunnels.


Introduction of internal-combustion

In 1897, a manganese mine in the Lahn valley in Germany was using two benzine-fueled locomotives with single cylinder internal combustion engines on the 500mm gauge tracks of their mine railway; these locomotives were made by the Deutz Gas Engine Company (''Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz''), now Deutz AG. Another early use of internal combustion was to power a narrow-gauge locomotive was in 1902. Francis Claude Blake, F. C. Blake built a 7 hp petrol locomotive for the Richmond Main Sewerage Board sewage plant at Mortlake. This gauge locomotive was probably the third petrol-engined locomotive built.


First World War and later

Extensive narrow-gauge trench railways, rail systems served the front-line trenches of both sides in World War I. They were a short-lived military application, and after the war the surplus equipment created a small boom in European narrow-gauge railway building.


Improvements


Heavy-duty tracks

The heavy-duty narrow-gauge railways in
Queensland Queensland ( ,) is a state situated in northeastern Australia, and is the States and territories of Australia, second-largest and third-most populous Australian state. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wale ...
, South Africa, and New Zealand demonstrate that if track is built to a heavy-duty standard, performance almost as good as a standard-gauge line is possible. Two-hundred-car trains operate on the Sishen–Saldanha railway line in South Africa, and high-speed Tilt Trains run in Queensland. In South Africa and New Zealand, the loading gauge is similar to the restricted British loading gauge; in New Zealand, some New Zealand British Rail Mark 2 carriage, British Rail Mark 2 carriages have been Bogie exchange, rebuilt with new bogies for use by Tranz Scenic (Wellington-Palmerston North service), Tranz Metro (Wellington-Masterton service), and Transdev Auckland (Auckland suburban services). Another example of a heavy-duty narrow-gauge line is Brazil's Vale (company)#Railroads, EFVM. gauge, it has Rail profile#North America, over-100-pound rail () and a Loading gauge#North America, loading gauge almost as large as US non-excess-height lines. The line has a number of locomotives and 200-plus-car trains.


Fastest trains

Narrow gauge's reduced stability means that its trains cannot run at speeds as high as on broader gauges. For example, if a curve with standard-gauge rail can allow speed up to , the same curve with narrow-gauge rail can only allow speed up to . In Japan and Queensland, recent permanent-way improvements have allowed trains on gauge tracks to exceed . Queensland Rail's QR Tilt Train, Electric Tilt Train, the fastest train in Australia and the fastest gauge train in the world, set a record of . The speed record for narrow-gauge rail is , set in South Africa in 1978. A special gauge railcar was built for the Otavi Mining and Railway Company with a design speed of 137 km/h. Curve radius is also important for high speeds: narrow-gauge railways allow sharper curves, but these limit a vehicle's safe speed.


Gauges

Many narrow gauges, from gauge and gauge, are in present or former use. They fall into several broad categories:


Just under standard gauge


* Huddersfield Corporation Tramways * Glasgow Corporation Tramways


4 ft 6 in gauge

track gauge (also known as Scotch gauge) was adopted by early 19th-century railways, primarily in the Lanarkshire area of Scotland. lines were also constructed, and both were eventually converted to standard gauge.


Around 4 ft gauge


* Middleton Railway


* City of Oxford Tramways Company * Glasgow Subway * Padarn Railway * Bradford Corporation Tramways * Keighley Tramways * Wellington tramway system * Saundersfoot Railway * Derby Tramways Company * Reading Corporation Tramways * Barrow-in-Furness Tramways Company * Darwen Corporation Tramways * Honolulu Rapid Transit and Land Company


* Central Funicular * Gardena Ronda Express * Zagreb Funicular#Technical characteristics, Zagreb Funicular * Rheineck–Walzenhausen mountain railway, Appenzell Railways#Operation, Appenzell Railways * Schlossbergbahn (Freiburg) * Stoosbahn


3 ft 7 in gauge


3 ft 6 in gauge

between the inside of the rail heads, its name and classification vary worldwide and it has about of track.


Similar gauges

* in Rail transport in Algeria, Algeria * on the Hejaz railway in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria; only a few lines survive.


Metre gauge and Italian metre gauge

As its name implies, metre gauge is a track gauge of . It has about of track. According to Italian law, track gauges in Italy were defined from the centre of each rail rather than the inside edges of the rails. This gauge, measured between the edges of the rails, is known as Track gauge in Italy, Italian metre gauge.


3 ft, 900 mm, and Swedish three foot gauge

in California There were a number of large railroad systems in North America; notable examples include the Denver & Rio Grande and Rio Grande Southern Railroad, Rio Grande Southern in Colorado and the South Pacific Coast Railroad, South Pacific Coast and West Side Lumber Company railway, West Side Lumber Co of California. was also a common track gauge in South America, Ireland and on the Isle of Man. was a common gauge in Europe. Swedish three-foot-gauge railways () are unique to that country.


2 ft 9 in gauge

A few railways and tramways were built to gauge, including Nankai Main Line (later Track gauge conversion, converted to ), Ocean Pier Railway at Atlantic City, Seaton Tramway (converted from ) and Waiorongomai Tramway.


800 mm, 2 ft 6 in, Bosnian and 750 mm gauge

gauge railways are commonly used for rack railways. Imperial gauge railways were generally constructed in the former British colonies. Bosnian gauge and railways are predominantly found in Russia and Eastern Europe.


Between 2 ft 1 in and 2 ft 5 in gauge

Gauges such as , and were used in parts of the UK, particularly for railways in Wales and the borders, with some industrial use in the coal industry. Some sugar cane lines in Cuba were .
(2003) The rapid transit Line 15 (São Paulo Metro), Line 15 of the São Paulo Metro uses a gauge.


2 ft and 600 mm gauges

Image:Ffestiniog DLG BF.JPG, alt=Red locomotive, with observers on a platform, The gauge Ffestiniog Railway in Wales gauge railways were generally constructed in the former British colonies. , and were used in Europe.


Minimum gauge

Gauges below were rare. Arthur Percival Heywood developed gauge British narrow-gauge railways#Estate railways, estate railways in Britain and Decauville produced a range of industrial railways running on and tracks, most commonly in restricted environments such as underground mine railways, parks and farms, in France. Several gauge railways were built in Britain to serve ammunition depots and other military facilities, particularly during World War I.


See also

* Feldbahn * Forest railway * Heeresfeldbahn * List of track gauges#Narrow gauge, List of track gauges * List of tram systems by gauge and electrification * Military railways * Narrow-gauge railway modelling * Rail transport in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts * Ridable miniature railway * Track gauge * Trench railways * War Department Light Railways


References


Notes


"Trade House" Kambarka Engineering Works "
* P. J. G. Ransom. ''Narrow Gauge Steam – Its origins and worldwide development'', Oxford Publishing Co., 1996, * 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, * Keith Chester. "East European Narrow Gauge" 1995 * "Narrow Gauge Through the Bush – Ontario's Toronto Grey and Bruce and Toronto and Nipissing Railways"; Rod Clarke; pub. Beaumont and Clarke, with the Credit Valley Railway Company, Streetsville, Ontario, 2007. * "The Narrow Gauge For Us – The Story of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway"; Charles Cooper; pub. The Boston Mills Press; Erin, Ontario, 1982. * "Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada"; Omer Lavallee; pub. Railfair, Montreal, 1972. * "Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada"; Omer Lavallee, expanded and revised by Ronald S Ritchie; pub. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Markham, Ontario, 2005. * "The Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway 1863–1884; Thomas F McIlwraith; pub. Upper Canada Railway Society, Toronto, 1963. * "Steam Trains to the Bruce"; Ralph Beaumont; pub. The Boston Mills Press; Cheltenham, Ontario, 1977 * "Running Late on the Bruce"; Ralph Beaumont & James Filby; pub The Boston Mills Press, Cheltenham, Ontario, 1980
Nevada Central Narrow Gauge
Michael J. Brown {{Authority control Lists of track gauges Narrow gauge railways, Railways by type Track gauges by size