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Sidebar track gauge:
A '''narrow-gauge railway''' (or '''narrow-gauge railroad''') is a railway+ with a track gauge+ narrower than the and .

Since narrow-gauge railways are usually built with smaller radius curves, smaller structure gauge+s, lighter rails, etc., they can be substantially less costly to build, equip, and operate than standard gauge or broad gauge railways, particularly in mountainous or difficult terrain. The lower costs of narrow-gauge railways mean they are often built to serve industries and communities where the traffic potential would not justify the cost of building a standard or broad gauge line.

Narrow-gauge railways also have specialized use in mines+ and other environments where a very small structure gauge makes a very small loading gauge+ necessary. Narrow-gauge railways also have more general applications. Nonindustrial narrow-gauge mountain railways are or were common in the Rocky Mountains+ of the United States and the Pacific Cordillera+ of Canada, in Mexico, Switzerland, the former Yugoslavia+, Greece, India, and Costa Rica+. In some countries, narrow gauge is the standard, like the gauge in Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, New Zealand, South Africa, the Australian states of Queensland+ and Tasmania+, and the in Malaysia+ and Thailand+.

Many narrow-gauge street tramways+ are used, particularly in Europe, where tramways are common.

The earliest recorded railway is shown in the ''De re metallica+'' of 1556, which shows a mine in Bohemia with a railway of about gauge. During the 16th century, railways were mainly restricted to hand-pushed narrow gauge lines in mines throughout Europe. During the 17th century, mine railway+s were extended to provide transportation above ground. These lines were industrial+, connecting mines with nearby transportation points, usually canals or other waterways. These railways were usually built to the same narrow gauge as the mine railways from which they developed.

The world's first steam locomotive on rails, built in 1802 by Richard Trevithick+ for the Coalbrookdale Company, ran on a plateway+. 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

Historically, many narrow gauge railways were built as part of specific industrial enterprises and were primarily industrial railway+s rather than general carriers. Some common uses for these industrial narrow gauge railways were mining+, logging+, construction+, tunnel+ling, quarry+ing, and the conveying of agricultural products+. Extensive narrow gauge networks were constructed in many parts of the world for these purposes. For example, mountain logging operations in the 19th century often used narrow gauge railways to transport logs from mill sites to market. Significant sugarcane+ railways still operate in Cuba+, Fiji+, Java+, the Philippines+, and Queensland. Narrow gauge railway equipment remains in common use for the construction of tunnels.

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

Narrow gauge railways usually cost less to build because they are usually lighter in construction, using smaller cars+ and locomotive+s (smaller loading gauge), as well as smaller bridge+s, smaller tunnel+s (smaller structure gauge) and tighter curves. Narrow gauge is thus often used in mountainous terrain, where the savings in civil engineering+ work can be substantial. It is also used in sparsely populated areas where the potential demand is too low for broader gauge railways to be economically viable. This is the case in some of Australia and most of Southern Africa, where extremely poor soils have led to population densities too low for standard gauge to be viable.

For temporary railways that will be removed after short-term use, such as for construction, the logging industry, the mining industry, or large-scale construction projects, especially in confined spaces, such as the Channel Tunnel+, a narrow gauge railway is substantially cheaper and easier to install and remove. The use of such railways has almost vanished due to the capabilities of modern truck+s.

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

Narrow gauge railways cannot interchange rolling stock+ such as freight and passenger cars freely with the standard gauge or broad gauge railways with which they link, and the transfers of passengers and freight require time-consuming manual labour or substantial capital expenditure. Some bulk commodities, such as coal+, ore+, and gravel+, can be mechanically transshipped, but this still incurs time penalties and the equipment required for the transfer is often complex to maintain.

Also in times of peak demand, it is very difficult to move rolling stock to where it is needed when a break of gauge+ exists, so enough rolling stock must be available to meet a narrow gauge railways' own peak demand, which might be much more than needed by equivalent standard gauge railways, and the surplus equipment generated no cash flow during periods of low demand.

Solutions to these problems of transshipment are bogie exchange+ between cars, a rollbock+ system, variable gauge+, dual gauge+, or even gauge conversion+. European standard gauge trains normally use buffers and chain coupler+s, which do not allow such tight curves, a main reason to have narrow gauge. Therefore, narrow gauge trains normally use other couplers+, which makes bogie exchange meaningless.

Another problem for narrow gauge railways was that they lacked the physical space to grow: their cheap construction meant they were engineered only for their initial traffic demands. While a standard or broad gauge railway could more easily be upgraded to handle heavier, faster traffic, many narrow gauge railways were impractical to improve. Speeds and loads hauled could not increase, so traffic density was significantly limited. In the case of Queensland+, Australia+, the Queensland Rail+ passenger network has nearly reached its capacity due to the narrow gauge and an ever increasing population, as such, new lines are to be built, thus negating the original cost savings.

The heavy duty gauge, it has over-100-pound rail+ () and a loading gauge+ almost as large as US nonexcess-height lines. It has multiple locomotives and 200+ car trains. In South Africa and New Zealand, the loading gauge is similar to the restricted British loading gauge, and in New Zealand some British Rail Mark 2+ carriages have been rebuilt with new bogies for use by Tranz Scenic+ (Wellington-Palmerston North service), Tranz Metro+ (Wellington-Masterton service), and Transdev Auckland+ (Auckland suburban services).

The reduced stability of narrow gauge means its trains cannot run at the same high speeds as on broader gauges. For instance, 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 and faster. Queensland Rail+'s tilt train+ is currently the fastest train in Australia and the fastest narrow gauge rail is 245km/h, set in South Africa, 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, which limits the speed at which a vehicle can safely proceed along the track.

Many engineers considered the cost of a railway varies with some power of the gauge, so the narrower gauge the cheaper it might be. This applied also to different narrow gauges, such as a proposed line in Papua+ using either .

In general, a narrow gauge railway has a track gauge less than standard gauge. However, due to historical and local circumstances, the definition of a narrow gauge railway can be different.

Many narrow gauges are in use or formerly used between gauge. They fall into several broad categories:

'''Scotch gauge''' was the name given to a lines were constructed. Both gauges were eventually converted to standard gauge.

* , Central Funicular+, Gardena Ronda Express+, Zagreb Funicular+, Rheineck–Walzenhausen mountain railway+, Schlossbergbahn (Freiburg)+


Similar gauges are:
* for the Hejaz railway+, constructed in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Only a few lines survive
* only in Algeria+

'''Metre gauge''' is the system of narrow gauge railways and tramways with a track gauge of .

As a result of Italian+ law, track gauges in Italy were defined from the centres of each rail, rather than the inside edges of the rails. This gauge was measured between the edges of the rails and is known as Italian metre gauge+

Three foot gauge railways have a track gauge of and are generally found throughout North+ and South America+, as well as Ireland+ and the Isle of Man+.

) can only be found in Sweden+.

Clear right:

) railways are predominantly found in Russia+ and Eastern Europe+.

The Imperial ) in Sri Lanka+.

These lightweight lines can be built at a substantial cost saving over medium or standard gauge railways, but are generally restricted in their carrying capacity. The majority of these lines were built in mountainous areas, the majority for carrying mineral traffic from mines to ports or standard gauge railways.

Clear right:

Gauges: ,

Clear right:

Gauges below gauge estate railway+s, while in France Decauville+ produced a range of industrial railways running on tracks, most commonly in restricted environments such as underground mine+ railways, parks and farms. Several gauge railways were built in Britain to serve ammunition depots and other military facilities, particularly during World War I+.

*Forest railway+
*List of track gauges+
*Military railways+
*Rail transport in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts+
*Ridable miniature railway+
*Trench railways+
*War Department Light Railways+
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* Narrow-gauge railway modelling+

* P.J.G. Ransom+. ''Narrow Gauge Steam – Its origins and worldwide development'', Oxford Publishing Co., 1996, ISBN 0-86093-533-7
* P. Whitehouse, J. Snell. ''Narrow Gauge Railways of the British Isles'', David and Charles+, 1994, ISBN C-7153-0196-9
* <>''Railroads of Colorado: Your Guide to Colorado's Historic Trains and Railway Sites'', Claude Wiatrowski, Voyageur Press, 2002, hardcover, 160 pages, ISBN 0-89658-591-3
* Keith Chester. "East European Narrow Gauge" 1995
* "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. ISBN 978-0-9784406-0-2
* "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 and James Filby; pub The Boston Mills Press, Cheltenham, Ontario, 1980
*; Michael J. Brown

Navbox track gauge:

Narrow-gauge railway+ A narrow-gauge railway (or narrow-gauge railroad) is a railway with a track gauge narrower than the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) of standard gauge railways.
Narrow gauge railways in China+ The gauge for the most of the China national railway network is standard gauge. Currently, in the national railway network, only the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge Kunming–Hai Phong Railway uses narrow gauge, and it is expected to be converted into standard gauge soon.
Narrow gauge railways in the Netherlands+ Numerous industrial narrow gauge lines were built for peat extraction, clay extraction for brickworks and construction sites.
Narrow gauge railways in Saxony+ The narrow-gauge railways in Saxony were once the largest single-operator narrow-gauge railway network in Germany.
Narrow gauge railways in Europe+ Europe inherited a diversity of rail gauges. Extensive narrow gauge railway networks exist in Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Eastern Europe.
 Narrow gauge railways in former Spanish Morocco+ There have been narrow gauge railways which used 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in), 750 mm (2 ft 5 1⁄2 in) and 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauges.
Narrow gauge railways in former French Morocco+ French Morocco had from 1912 to 1935 one of the largest 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge network in Africa with a total length of more than 1700 kilometres.
Narrow-gauge railways in Bosnia and Herzegovina+ Most Bosnian-gauge railway lines were built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Several 760 mm (2 ft 5 15⁄16 in) gauge railways were planned in order to link the extensive narrow gauge railways in the Austro-Hungarian Empire with those in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Narrow gauge railways in Asia+
Narrow gauge railways in Canada+ Although most railways of central and eastern Canada were initially built to a 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge, there were several, especially in The Maritimes and Ontario, which were built as individual narrow gauge lines.