Between the 1870's and the 1920's thousand of miles of railroad track were built and operated in the United
States, Canada, and Mexico with gauges less than the standard (4 feet 8 1/2 inches). These rail lines were called NARROW GAUGE.
Railroad enthusiasts, historians, and modelers have extensively studied, written, photographed, reconstructed,
and compiled records of this "odd-gauged" phenomenon. Many have also produced works documenting the history and equipment
of these lines and the companies that built them.
However, as extensive as have been this documentation, no one record has proposed to identify, list, and verify
the existence of all narrow gauge railroads built and operated in North America.
The purpose of this publication is to list, verify, and document the existence of ALL INCORPORATED AND UNINCORPORATED
narrow gauge railroads ACTUALLY BUILT AND OPERATED in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
A NARROW GAUGE RAILROAD is defined as a "transportation entity operated on two parallel grounded rails less
than four foot, eight and one half inches in width."
NOT INCLUDED in the listing are narrow gauge railroads that were incorporated but never built and operated
and most railroads less than one foot, six inches (18") in width which frequently are designated "Grand Scale" and operated
as child or park railroads.
For each railroad, a single, OFFICIAL NAME has been chosen. This CORPORATE or COMMONLY IDENTIFIED NAME is
the one associated with the railroad at the time mainline construction was completed. All other corporate changes and name
variations used prior to or following the end of construction are identified with "part of" references to the OFFICIAL NAME.
Corporations associated with ownership or building of the railroad but not incorporated into the COMMONLY
IDENTIED NAME are referenced by "see" references to the OFFICIAL NAME.
NARROW GAUGE RAILROADS have been identified as the following types: common carriers (Gen), agricultural (Farm),
construction (Con), industrial (Ind), lumber (Log), military (Mil), mine (Mine), street (Str), and tourist (Tour).
For each railroad, effort has been made to also identify the state(s) in which operated, the rail width in
feet and inches, its date of origin and when it ceased operation or was standard gauged, and the number of miles operated.
Up to three (3) sources have been identified which verify the existence of the railroad, and up to three (3)
sources have been identified which provide brief historical information. Companies and lines for which only the sketchiest
of reference and no verification can be located are noted as "undocumented."
I am certain there are many other narrow gauge railroads operated in North America not included in this listing.
Additions and Corrections to the list are encouraged and welcomed. Please cite verifying resources. They will be added to
the database as verified. Send additions and revisions to "email@example.com"