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World map, rail gauge by region

Metre-gauge railways are narrow-gauge railways with track gauge of 1000 mm or 1 metre (3 ft 3⅜ in).[1]


The metre gauge is used in around 95,000 kilometres (59,000 mi) of tracks around the world. Historically it was utilized by European colonial powers such as the French, British, and German empires. In Europe, large metre-gauge networks remain in use in Switzerland, northern Spain and in many European towns with urban trams, although most metre-gauge local railways in France, Germany and Belgium closed down in the mid-20th century. With the revival of urban rail transport, metre-gauge light metros were established in some cities, while in other cities metre gauge was replaced by standard gauge.


Country/territory Railway
Argentina 11,080 km (6,880 mi)

Ferrocarril General Manuel Belgrano

Bangladesh 1,830 km (1,140 mi), out of which 365 km (227 mi) are dual gauge with 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) gauge
Benin National rail network, 578 km (359 mi).
Bolivia National rail network, 3,600 km (2,200 mi).

23,489 km (14,595 mi)

  • Mostly in cargo railways, including E.F Vitoria-Minas Passenger/Cargo Line and R.R. (operating)
  • Fortaleza Metro (operating)
  • Teresina Metro (operating)
Burkina Faso
  • Abidjan–Burkina Faso railway (operating)
Burma 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi) of Burmese railways, except for about 160 kilometres (99 mi) of hill railways.
Cambodia 612 km (380 mi)
Cameroon 1,104 km (686 mi)
Chile 2,923 km (1,816 mi)

Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (Ferronor), Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia, Arica–La Paz railway.

  • Kunhe Railway (formerly the Yunnan–Vietnam Railway) (operating).
Czech Republic Like other Sudeten cities, the tram of Liberec used metre gauge in the past. The inner city lines however, have been rebuilt to standard gauge and the only line that still uses the metre gauge is the 13 km (8.1 mi) long Jablonec nad Nisou line connecting the city with Jablonec nad Nisou.
Democratic Republic of the Congo Several metre gauge railways

A few local railways. Only one remains, but regauged to standard gauge.

France Historically used in many local and regional railways, only a few of which remain today.
Greece The rail network of Peloponnese used to be the largest metre gauge in Europe and is now partially abandoned. Only Patra's Commuter rail, within the Patras metropolitan area, and the Olympia-Katakolo tourist rail line use the network.
Iraq Mesopotamian Railways
Israel Sections of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) railways, later converted to 1,050 mm (3 ft 5 1132 in) or 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) gauge
Ivory Coast
  • Abidjan–Burkina Faso railway (operating)
Kenya Uganda Railway run by Kenya Railways Corporation.
Laos A 3.5 km extension of the metre-gauge State Railway of Thailand network across the border into Laos
Madagascar 875 km (544 mi). There are two unconnected systems operated by Madarail
Malaysia Malayan Railway and Sabah State Railway

1,287 km (800 mi) Dakar–Niger Railway

Malta Malta Railway
Morocco Several industrial railways in former Spanish Morocco
New Zealand
Portugal Several mainly mountainous branch lines, mostly abandoned in the 1990s, never fully interconnected — connected to the REFER network by means of shared stations and some dual-gauge stretches. Metro de Mirandela and Vouga line remain in use. Other metric networks include Funchal rack railway (defunct in 1943), Coimbra trams (defunct in 1980), and Sintra trams.
Senegal Dakar–Niger Railway – 1,287 km (800 mi)
Singapore Singapore span of the Malayan Railway.
Sweden Skansens bergbana (operating)
Switzerland Many narrow-gauge railways: suburban railways, mountain railways, rack railways, some long-distance railways and trams,
Tanzania Tanzania Railways Corporation – about 2,600 km (1,600 mi) (break of gauge with 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) TAZARA Railway)
Thailand State Railway of Thailand, 4,346 km (2,700 mi).
Togo 568 km (353 mi).
Tunisia 1,674 km (1,040 mi) used along with standard gauge (471 km (293 mi))
Uganda Uganda Railway run by Uganda Railways Corporation
United Kingdom
United States
Vietnam Vietnam Railways and KunHe Railway

See also


  1. ^ Raja, K. "Complete information on Railway Gauges". Retrieved April 30, 2017. 

External links