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Railways with a track gauge of 3 ft 6 in / 1,067 mm were first constructed as horse-drawn wagonways. The first intercity passenger railway to use 3 ft 6 in was constructed in Norway by Carl Abraham Pihl. From the mid-nineteenth century, the 3 ft 6 in gauge became widespread in the British Empire. It was known as the Cape gauge as it was adopted as the standard gauge for the Cape Government Railways. It was adopted as a standard in New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Queensland (which has the second largest narrow gauge network in the world) in Australia.
There are approximately 112,000 kilometres (70,000 mi) of 1,067 mm gauge track in the world, which are classified as narrow gauge railways.
The most common name for this gauge is Cape gauge, named after the Cape Colony in what is now South Africa, which adopted it in 1873. 1,065 mm (3 ft 5+15⁄16 in) instead of 1067 mm."Cape gauge" was used in several English-speaking countries. The equivalent of Cape gauge is used in other languages, such as the Dutch kaapspoor, German Kapspur, Norwegian kappspor and French voie cape. After metrication in the 1960s, the gauge was referred to in official South African Railways publications as
In Sweden, the gauge was nicknamed Blekinge gauge, as most of the railways in the province of Blekinge had this gauge.
Colonial Gauge was used in New Zealand.
In Australia the imperial (pre-metric) term 3 foot 6 inch is used. In some Australian publications the term medium gauge is also used, 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) or 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) is the norm, 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge is often referred to as narrow gauge.while in Australian states where
In Japan the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge, along with other narrow gauges, is referred to as kyōki (狭軌), which directly translates as narrow gauge, to differentiate it from the Shinkansen lines. It is defined in metric units. It is commonly referred to as 三六軌間 (36 gauge), which derives from the 3 ft 6 in.
Similar, but incompatible without wheelset adjustment, rail gauges in respect of aspects such as cost of construction, practical minimum radius curves and the maximum physical dimensions of rolling stock are:
Dual gauge between 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge and another similar gauge can make these bonus gauges.
|Angola||Rail transport in Angola, some converted from 2 ft (610 mm) gauge and 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) metre gauge . Some isolated.|
|Australia||11,930 km (7,410 mi). New South Wales: the heritage Zig Zag Railway line. Queensland: 8,146 km (5,062 mi). South Australia: the isolated (and now mostly closed) Eyre Peninsula Railway network, and the heritage Pichi Richi Railway. Victoria: the heritage Bellarine Railway line. Tasmania: 611 km (380 mi). Western Australia: 2,970 km (1,850 mi). Northern Territory (closed).|
|Botswana||The Botswana Railways system consists of 888 kilometres (552 mi) of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge track.|
|Canada||Western New Brunswick until gauge conversion in the 1880s; the Newfoundland Railway until abandonment in September 1988, and the Prince Edward Island Railway until gauge conversion in 1930 following a car ferry connection with the main North America system, until abandonment in December 1989; see Narrow gauge railways in Canada.|
|China||South Manchuria Railway — built to 1,524 mm (5 ft) as part of the Chinese Eastern Railway, converted by advancing Japanese troops during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 to Japanese 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge, converted to standard gauge after the war by the new South Manchuria Railway Company.|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of||3621 km 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge (858 km or 533 mi electrified). Some converted from 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) and 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge.|
|Congo, Republic of||The Congo–Ocean Railway, 502 kilometres (312 mi) long (operating).|
|Costa Rica||Operation of the national railway network was suspended in 1995 after an earthquake. As of 2013, some suburban lines are operational.|
|Dominican Republic||Samaná to Santiago Railway, (later Ferrocarriles Unidos Dominicanos) 139 km (86 mi), in operation from 1887 to 1976 (defunct)|
|Ecuador||Empresa de Ferrocarriles Ecuatorianos 965 km (600 mi)|
|Estonia||Tallinn tram of 38 km (24 mi), on all lines from the beginning in 1888, only on some lines in 1915–1931, and again on all lines from 1931.|
|Ghana||The national rail network of 935 km (581 mi) is undergoing major rehabilitation.|
|Haiti||Saint-Marc line (defunct)|
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong Tramways|
|Indonesia||5,961 km (3,704 mi). Most common gauge for main lines of Sumatra and Java. The first railway was actually built to standard gauge (the Semarang–Solo–Yogyakarta corridor), but later lines were built to cape-gauge size owing to economic feasibility. The remainder of standard gauge lines were regauged by Japanese army during World War II to 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge, with parts using standard gauge sleepers. The gauge is also used by Jakarta MRT and Palembang LRT.|
|Isle of Man||Snaefell Mountain Railway|
|Japan||22,301 km (13,857 mi). First track gauge introduced. All JR Group lines and some private railways use this gauge except for high-speed shinkansen lines which use standard gauge.|
|Jersey||Jersey Railway (defunct). Partly converted from 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Malawi||Malawi Railways has 797 km (495 mi) of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge railways.|
|Mozambique||Mozambique Ports and Railways operates 2,983 km (1,854 mi) of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge.|
|Namibia||TransNamib operates 2,883 km (1,791 mi) of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge, partly converted from 600 mm (1 ft 11+5⁄8 in) gauge.|
|Netherlands||Some tramway systems (all defunct)|
|New Zealand||3,900 km (2,400 mi), standardized by the Public Works Act 1870|
|Nicaragua||373 km (232 mi) of track until closure of the national rail network in 1993. All lifted and scrapped.|
|Nigeria||Nigerian Railway Corporation operates an isolated network of 3,505 kilometers (2,178 mi)3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge single track lines.|
|Norway||The gauge was first used by C A Pihl on the Hamar-Grundset Line, opened 23 June 1862. Most lines were 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge lines built in the 19th century were rebuilt to standard gauge between 1904 and 1949. The Setesdal Line, a heritage railway line of about eight km remains 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge.|
|Panama||Panama Tramways Company (1913–1917) and the Panama Electric Company (1917–1941).|
|Philippines||The Philippine National Railways operates a 72 km (45 mi) Metro Manila–Laguna segment of its old 1,140 km (710 mi) network; Panay Railways had 154 km (96 mi) in Panay and Cebu. PNR will re-gauge its entire network to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge.|
|Sierra Leone||There are 84 kilometres of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge private railways in Sierra Leone.|
|South Africa||About 20,500 route-km. Gautrain (80 km) is 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge and there were several limited 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge systems.|
|South Sudan||Isolated, 248 kilometers (154 mi)|
|Spain||The line from Cartagena to Los Blancos was originally 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in), but was converted to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) in 1976, at the same time as the line was extended to Los Nietos.|
|Sudan||Isolated, 4,725 kilometers (2,936 mi)|
|Swaziland||301 kilometres (187 mi), only for transportation of goods, not passengers|
|Sweden||Several during the 19th century, all closed or regauged.|
|Taiwan||1,097 km (682 mi) (Taiwan Railways Administration)|
|Tanzania||Dar es Salaam to Zambia (TAZARA Railway only, rest of the network is 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) metre gauge .|
|Turkey||Chemin de Fer Moudania Brousse|
|Venezuela||Great Venezuela Railway|
|Zambia||Railway Systems of Zambia, Mulobezi Railway|
|Zimbabwe||National Railways of Zimbabwe|
A narrow-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge narrower than standard 1,435 mm. Most narrow-gauge railways are between 600 mm and 1,067 mm.
A standard-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge of 1,435 mm. The standard gauge is also called Stephenson gauge, International gauge, UIC gauge, uniform gauge, normal gauge and European gauge in Europe, and SGR in East Africa. It is the most widely used track gauge around the world, with approximately 55% of the lines in the world using it. All high-speed rail lines use standard gauge except those in Russia, Finland, and Uzbekistan. The distance between the inside edges of the rails is defined to be 1435 mm except in the United States and on some heritage British lines, where it is defined in U.S. customary/Imperial units as exactly "four feet eight and one half inches" which is equivalent to 1435.1 mm.
In rail transport, track gauge is the distance between the two rails of a railway track. All vehicles on a rail network must have wheelsets that are compatible with the track gauge. Since many different track gauges exist worldwide, gauge differences often present a barrier to wider operation on railway networks.
A dual gauge railway line has track consisting of two rails spaced according to one track gauge, to which are added either one or two more rails spaced according to another track gauge. Since tracks of two gauges are more expensive to configure with signals and sidings, and to maintain, than two separate single-gauge tracks, it is usual to build dual-gauge tracks only when necessitated by lack of space.
Rail transport in South Africa is an important element of the country's transport infrastructure. All major cities are connected by rail, and South Africa's railway system is the most highly developed in Africa. The South African rail industry is publicly owned.
Shosholoza Meyl is a division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) that operates long-distance (intercity) passenger rail services. It operates various train routes across South Africa, carrying approximately 4 million passengers annually. Before 2009, Shosholoza Meyl was a division of Spoornet, but it was transferred after the formation of PRASA.
Carl Abraham Pihl was a Norwegian civil engineer and director of the Norwegian State Railways (NSB) from 1865 until his death. Pihl was one of the main architects of the use of narrow-gauge railways in Norway.
The Nantlle Railway was a Welsh narrow gauge railway. It was built to carry slate from several slate quarries across the Nantlle Valley to the harbour at Caernarfon for export by sea. The line provided a passenger service between Caernarfon and Talysarn from 1856 to 1865. It was the first public railway to be operated in North Wales.
Although most railways of central and eastern Canada were initially built to a 5 ft 6 in broad gauge, there were several, especially in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, which were built as individual narrow-gauge lines. These were generally less expensive to build, but were more vulnerable to frost heaving because vertical displacement of one rail caused greater angular deflection of the narrower two-rail running surface. Most of the longer examples were regauged starting in the 1880s as the railway network began to be bought up by larger companies.
Gauge conversion is the change of one railway track gauge to another. This may be required if loads are too heavy for the existing track gauge or if rail cars are of a broader gauge than the existing track gauge. Gauge conversion may become less important as time passes due to the development of variable gauge systems, also called Automatic Track Gauge Changeover Systems.
The Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway (TG&B) was a railway company which operated in Ontario, Canada in the years immediately following the Canadian Confederation of 1867. It connected two rural counties, Grey County and Bruce County, with the provincial capital of Toronto to the east.
Alfred County Railway is an abandoned 2 ft narrow gauge railway in South Africa, which runs from the southern transport hub of Port Shepstone on the Indian Ocean, via Izotsha and Paddock for 122 kilometres (76 mi) to Harding, KwaZulu-Natal.
The South African Railways Class 91-000 of 1973 was a narrow-gauge diesel–electric locomotive.
The South African Railways Class 6E1, Series 4 of 1973 was an electric locomotive.
The South African Railways Class 36-000 is a diesel-electric locomotive.
Abraham 'Abram' Fitzgibbon was an Irish-born railroad engineer and a pioneer for narrow-gauge railways.
Narrow-gauge railways are common in Africa, where great distances, challenging terrain and low cost have made the narrow gauges attractive. Many nations, particularly in Southern Africa, including the extensive South African Railway network (Spoornet), use a 3 ft 6 in gauge. Metre gauge is also common, as in the case of the Uganda Railway. There used to be extensive 2 ft and 600 mm gauge networks in countries such as Morocco, Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa, but these have mostly been dismantled or converted. Some also survive in Egypt: in the countryside around Luxor, narrow-gauge railways are used for the transportation of sugar cane.
Numerous narrow-gauge railway lines were built in [Oceania, most in 3 ft 6 in, 2 ft 6 in and 2 ft track gauge.
Richard Thomas Hall was a British railway engineer.
One of the first railways using 3 ft 6 in gauge track was the Little Eaton Gangway in England, constructed as a horse-drawn wagonway in 1795. Other 3 ft 6 in gauge wagonways in England and Wales were also built in the early 19th century. Also during this time, numerous tram networks were built in 3 ft 6 in gauge.