This is a relatively recent page (May 2011) and is very much an embryonic offering, it is
just a brief introduction and it will only serve its purpose if readers send me
reports of their travels or ideas for inclusions. Originally I planned to
concentrate on industrial operations but there seems no reason to exclude common
carrier railways although I would expect to put very little emphasis on purely
tourist operations. I would particular welcome current information from surviving Indian
narrow gauge lines.
I have been a narrow gauge steam freak for over 30 years, back then, many countries
boasted working narrow gauge steam - by which I mean (by and large) railways
with a gauge of less than one metre, but which are not 'miniature' again it is
an arbitrary decision on my part. Now those countries with real narrow gauge
steam can be counted on the fingers of one hand and nowhere is it remotely
Many steam enthusiasts have naturally stepped sideways to visit and record
non-steam narrow gauge railways which are in similar decline. While living in China, I
had access to all kinds of such railways, human powered as well as those using
internal combustion, battery and overhead electric locomotives. Personally, I am
not yet ready to mount dedicated expeditions but I have spent increasing time
looking at such systems when I happen to be in an area for steam activity. As always, updates, additions and corrections will be very
welcome, but please send European information to Steve Thomason (see link
The following sites also provide
If you are interested in narrow gauge
steam then check out
our ISV DVDs. These are
properly researched quality
documentary films with a story to tell.
'National Geographic Stuff' said one purchaser.
I don't include gratuitous advertisements to commercial products, but I am
happy to make exceptions for
Gauge World, a bi-monthly UK publication with a significant international
Voie Etroite a bi-monthly
French publication with a significant international slant
Latest additions are Wilson Lythgoe's
Suileng and Xinglongzhen visits in April 2013 (17th May
2013), extra links in the Russian list (13th May 2013) and Robin Gibbon's Nanjing visit (2nd May 2013).
Wilson Lythgoe's visits in April 2013 (17th May 2013)
An April 2013 visit to some narrow gauge lines in Central China (2nd May
These reports are of Wilson Lythgoe's visit in November 2012 (added 28th
John Raby has been to the following lines in Sichuan (added 4th May 2012)
These reports are of Wilson Lythgoe's visit in March and April 2011:
These reports are of John Raby's visit in August 2009:
A minor Classic from John Raby's 2001 Bash
Over my many visits to Shibanxi I have added brief reports on short coal
mine railways in the area.
Sugar Mills (2009) - Lok Repoirt's article on this has now vanished.
Despite threats of closure, there is still a significant amount
of rail borne cane traffic. John Browning has posted a blog of his September
2012 visit - http://trainrover.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/tuesday-august-28-2012-bula-welcome-to.html
(added 19th October 2012).
Many lines have closed or been converted to broad gauge.
Wilson Lythgoe has produced a 2012 survey of
the known survivors (16th April 2012)
There are trip reports on the IRFCA site, if you read this one - Upper Class to Sheopur Kalan
- you'll probably want to get on a plane and go and experience it for yourself.
There's not just steam narrow gauge in Java::
This page has links which show samples of Java sugar
Here's a little something out of the ordinary:
Alex Malianov has supplied a survey of surviving
narrow gauge railways of Russia - an extraordinary list with many of them at
death's door (updated 13th May 2013 with many extra links).
For a visual summary of the motive power and rolling stock, see this YouTube
clip which is a collection of stills from narrow.parovoz.com - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm-CdqlFaBc
(added 1st August 2012).
Thomas Kautzor has posted a report of his own visit to one:
I was amazed to hear from Trevor Heath that a number of
steelworks operate 3ft gauge systems, also
Other countries where I believe there are 'real' narrow gauge railways still
at work, suitable links would be welcome.
The Queensland sugar mills still have extensive 610mm (2ft) gauge systems.