Minimum gauge railway

Minimum gauge railway
Gauge EN.svg
Track gauge
by size
Broad gauge
Standard gauge
Narrow gauge
Minimum gauge
List of rail gauges

Dual gauge
Gauge conversion
Tramway track

Minimum gauge railways have a gauge of less than 2 ft  (610 mm) or 600 mm (1 ft 11 58 in),[citation needed] most commonly 15 in (381 mm),[1] 400 mm (15 34 in), 18 in (457 mm) or 500 mm (19 34 in). The notion of minimum gauge railways was originally developed by estate railways[1] and by the French company of Decauville for industrial railways.

The major distinction between a miniature railway (USA: 'riding railroad' or 'grand scale railroad') and a minimum gauge railway is that miniature lines use models of full-sized prototypes. There are miniature railways that run on gauges as wide as 2 ft  (610 mm), for example the Wicksteed Park Railway. There are also minimum gauge railways running on extremely narrow track as small as 10 14 in (260 mm) gauge, for example the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway. Generally minimum gauge railways have a working function as estate railways, or industrial railways, or providers of public transport links; although most also have a distinct function in relation to tourism as well, and depend upon tourism for the revenue to support their working function.

A general aspect about minimum gauge railways is that the loading gauge is maximized, which is to say the dimension of the equipment is made as large as possible to the track gauge, while still providing enough stability to keep it from tipping over.

List of Minimum Gauge Railways

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Heywood, A.P. (1974) [1881, Derby: Bemrose]. Minimum Gauge Railways. Turntable Enterprises. ISBN 0-902844-26-1. 
  2. ^ Chemin de fer Touristique d'Anse
  3. ^ Gwalia
  4. ^ Chemin de fer Touristique d'Tarn

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