There were more than a thousand British narrow gauge railways ranging from large, historically significant common carriers to small, short-lived industrial railways. Many notable events in British railway history happened on narrow gauge railways including the first use of steam locomotives, the first public railway and the first preserved railway.
The earliest narrow gauge railways were crude wooden trackways used in coal mines to guide wooden tubs. Because of the restricted loading gauge of the tunnels and the need for the tubs to be small enough to be pushed by one man, these railways were almost all narrow gauge. These underground lines often had short above ground sections as well.
After the start of the Industrial Revolution it became possible to create railways with iron tracks and wheels, which reduced the friction involved in moving wagons and made longer horse-hauled trains possible. These could move more material over longer distances, allowing the construction of railways from mines and quarries to transshipment points on rivers, canals and the coast. The earliest narrow gauge railways that were more than simply internal mine or quarry systems were all horse drawn industrial railways of this sort. Prominent examples include the gauge Little Eaton Gangway of 1793, the 3 ft 4 in gauge Lake Lock Rail Road of 1796, the gauge Llandegai Tramway of 1798 and the 4 ft 2 in gauge Surrey Iron Railway of 1803. The Surrey Iron Railway was the world's first public railway.
Meanwhile the development of the stationary steam engine was proceeding to the point where early steam locomotives were being proposed. In 1804 Richard Trevithick demonstrated the first locomotive-hauled railway in the world: the gauge Penydarren Tramway in south Wales. Although this first use of locomotives was a limited and short-lived experiment, in 1812 the 4 ft 1 in (1245 mm) gauge Middleton Railway in Leeds became the first in the world to make commercial use of steam haulage.
Steam technology developed rapidly in the early 1800s, allowing smaller locomotives to haul more goods. The horse-drawn Ffestiniog Railway opened in 1836 to connect the slate quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog with the coastal port of Porthmadog. The traffic on the line quickly grew to the point where the horses could no longer haul the empty slate wagons back to the quarries quickly enough to meet demand. In 1863 steam locomotives were introduced on the gauge railway, with passenger services following in 1865. This was the first steam operated railway providing both freight and passenger services on such a small gauge, and it proved the model for the introduction of narrow gauge railways across the world.
In 1846 the British Parliament passed the Gauges Act that established as the standard gauge for Britain. After the Gauges Act, most of the railway track laid in Great Britain was to standard gauge. However many minor railways, both public and industrial were built to narrower gauges. These lines either followed local traditions or were built in locations where the smaller size of the railway proved more economical or was simply necessary due to physical limitations such as bridges and tunnels.
The success of the Ffestiniog Railway triggered a boom in the construction of narrow gauge railways, not just in Britain but around the world. In the United Kingdom the centre of narrow gauge construction was north Wales. The mountains of the north held large quantities of slate and their narrow valleys and steep hillsides meant that the smaller narrow gauge railways were cost effective. The major slate mining regions at Bethesda, Llanberis, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Corris all developed multiple railways to serve the quarries. Some of these lines, like the Ffestiniog Railway, the Corris Railway and the Talyllyn Railway were common carriers, while others like the Penrhyn Quarry Railway and the Padarn Railway were purely industrial lines.
Outside Wales, other industries started to use narrow gauge railways to move freight, notably ironstone, limestone, china clay, brick clay and metals. Many common carrier lines were built: all of the railways on the Isle of Man were narrow gauge - mostly gauge. A number of railways were built to connect standard gauge railways with smaller towns, including the Southwold Railway, the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramway and the famous Lynton and Barnstaple Railway in Devon. These lines allowed communities that did not merit a full railway service to connect to the mainline network at low cost.
The 1880s were the high point of British narrow gauge railways as traffic on many of these lines reached its peak volume and new lines were built across the country.
There were many narrow gauge lines, as the 1904 Railway Clearing House Railway Atlas shows:
|Welsh Highland Railway|
|Welshpool & Llanfair Railway|
|Vale of Rheidol Railway|
|Lynton and Barnstaple Railway|
|East Cornwall Mineral Railway|
later converted to
In 1896 the Light Railways Act was passed which allowed the construction of railways to less stringent standards than had previously been allowed. This led to a short resurgence in the building of narrow gauge railways, especially in rural locations. In Wales, the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway was built to serve farming communities; in England the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway served similar purposes in the Derbyshire Dales.
However rail traffic was declining and the invention of the practical automobile at the turn of the century marked the beginning of the decline of public narrow gauge lines in Britain. Most of these railways were built to serve marginal traffic that would not support a larger line. As road competition increased, many existing lines fell into decline and few new railways were built.
The First World War saw a brief resurgence of the narrow gauge as surplus equipment from the War Department Light Railways (WDLR) became available. Several industrial railways were built using second hand WDLR equipment, notably the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway. Other lines such as the Glyn Valley Tramway and the Snailbeach District Railways were able to replace ageing locomotives relatively cheaply and continue to operate on shoestring budgets. Even the famed Ffestiniog Railway acquired a Baldwin locomotive to shore up the fleet working the Welsh Highland Railway which it now owned.
The last commercial carrier, narrow gauge line in Britain was the Ashover Light Railway, opened in 1925 using surplus war equipment. This was the epitome of cheaply constructed light railways and was one of several minor railways owned by Colonel Stephens.
Meanwhile, the use of narrow gauge railways in industry continued to flourish. Many small railways were built to serve sand and gravel pits, cement works and the peat and timber extraction industries. Again these often used rolling stock brought second hand from the WDLR.
However the continued development of road transport and the economic crises of the 1930s saw a slow decline in the use of narrow gauge railways across the country. The advent of the Second World War pushed many struggling enterprises into bankruptcy as labour and materials were diverted to the war effort. During and immediately after the war, the majority of the remaining lines closed: between 1946 and 1950 the Ffestiniog, Corris, Talyllyn, Ashover Light, Rye and Camber and Eaton Hall railways all closed. Many industrial lines did not survive the war years.
The use of narrow gauge railways in Britain declined throughout the first half of the twentieth century. This decline accelerated after the Second World War as improved road transport displaced railways in industry and for passenger service .
In 1951 however, a group of railway enthusiasts, alarmed at the loss of this part of British industrial heritage, stepped in to save the failing Talyllyn Railway. This became the first railway to be run entirely by volunteers and sparked a movement to preserve many railways, both narrow and standard gauge as tourist attractions. Since then many lines have been preserved as working museums, and new narrow gauge railways are being constructed for the tourist industry.
In the twenty first century a very few industrial and common carrier lines survive. Notable amongst the latter are the Glasgow Subway, an underground metro line that operates on a gauge, and the Manx Electric Railway on the Isle of Man.
Amongst the most well-known narrow gauge lines in Britain are the Ffestiniog - now the oldest independent railway company in the world - the Vale of Rheidol, and the Welshpool & Llanfair in Wales, and the Lynton & Barnstaple in England. Unique amongst British railways is the rack-and-pinion Snowdon Mountain Railway which climbs to just below the summit of Wales' highest peak.
The gauge Isle of Man Steam Railway operates as a tourist attraction. Also on the Isle of Man is the gauge Snaefell Mountain Railway which climbs the island's main peak and is the sole operating Fell system railway in the world.
|Name||Years of operation||Gauge||Length||Location||Notes|
|Abbey Light Railway||1978-present||2′||Unknown||Kirkstall Abbey,Leeds, UK||Half mile from opposite the shopping zone into the Abbey grounds. Industrial diesels, runs most Sundays|
|Albany Steam Museum Forest Road Light Railway||before 1973-unknown||2′||Unknown||Newport, England||Steam and diesel locomotives on the site of a planned railway. Closed due to lack of planning permission for the site.|
|Alford and Sutton Tramway||1884-1889||2′ 6″||7 miles||Alford, England||Steam-hauled street tramway.|
|Alford Valley Railway||1979-present||2′||1.5 miles||Alford, Scotland||Built on the old standard gauge branch from Upper Donside to Kintore Junction|
|Almond Valley Light Railway||1993-present||2′ 6″||.25 miles||Livingston, Scotland||Short line at a heritage museum featuring diesel locomotives from armaments factories|
|Ashover Light Railway||1925-1950||2′||7.5 miles||Clay Cross, England||Mineral and passenger line owned by the Clay Cross Company built using ex-WDLR equipment|
|Bure Valley Railway||1990-present||1′ 3″||9 miles||Aylsham, England||Built on the former track bed of a Great Eastern Line, The Bure Valley Railway runs both steam and diesel services between the market town of Aylsham and the 'Capital of the Broads' at Wroxham.|
|Bala Lake Railway||1972-present||1′ 11.5″||4.5 miles||Llanuwchllyn, Wales||Steam-hauled tourist railway built on the trackbed of the standard gauge Morfa Mawddach-Ruabon line.|
|Brecon Mountain Railway||1980-present||2′||3.5 miles||Merthyr Tydfil, Wales||Steam-hauled tourist railway built on the trackbed of the standard gauge Brecon & Merthyr Railway.|
|Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway||1975-present||2′||.5 mile||Hollingbourne, England||A half-mile long private steam railway that holds regular open days|
|Camborne and Redruth Tramway||1902-1934||3′ 6″||3.5 miles||Redruth, England||Cornwall's only electric tramway. As well as a passenger service, mineral traffic was carried behind electric locomotives.|
|Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway||1877-1932||2′ 3″||6 miles||Mull of Kintyre, Scotland||Remote line serving coal mines and passengers on the Kintyre peninsula.|
|Corris Railway||1859-1948||2′ 3″||12.25 miles||Machynlleth, Wales||Built to carry slate from the Corris district. Closed after flooding of the Afon Dyfi.|
|Corris Railway||1967-present||2′ 3″||1 mile||Corris, Wales||Heritage railway revival of the Corris Railway. Reopened in 2002.|
|Devil's Dyke Steep Grade Railway||1897-1908||3′||Unknown||Brighton, England||A tourist funicular railway climbing the South Downs.|
|Devon Railway Centre||1997-present||2′||Unknown||Tiverton, England||A tourist railway and locomotive collection.|
|East Hayling Light Railway||1998-present||2′||Unknown||Hayling Island, England||Newly constructed narrow gauge pleasure railway using diesel locomotives.|
|Fairbourne Railway||1895-present||12.25″||2 miles||Fairbourne, Wales||Built as a horse drawn tramway to carry building materials for Fairbourne village. Has been carrying passengers from Fairbourne village to Penrhyn Point ever since.|
|Festiniog and Blaenau Railway||1868-1883||1′ 11.5″||3.5 miles||Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales||Independent line feeding the Ffestiniog Railway to which it was connected. Converted to a standard gauge branch of the Great Western Railway in 1883.|
|Ffestiniog Railway||1836 -1946||1′ 11.5″||13.5 miles||Porthmadog, Wales||Built to carry slate from the Blaenau Ffestiniog district to the coast.|
|Ffestiniog Railway||1954-present||1′ 11.5″||13.5 miles||Porthmadog, Wales||Heritage revival of the original company.|
|Glasgow Subway||1896-present||4′||6.5 miles||Glasgow, Scotland||Underground cable-hauled metro line, converted to third rail operation in 1935 and modernised 1977-1980. Still in operation as a common carrier.|
|Glyn Valley Tramway||1873-1935||2′ 4.5″||8.75 miles||Chirk, Wales||Carried granite and passengers along the Ceriog Valley, much of the length as a roadside tramway.|
|Great Bush Railway||early 1970s-present||2′||.25 mile||Hadlow Down, England||Private Railway running around Tinker's Park|
|Great Laxey Mine Railway||2004-present||1′ 7″||.25 mile||Laxey, Isle of Man||Replica locomotives running passenger trains on the original trackbed of the Laxey mines railway.|
|Great Orme Tramway||1902-present||3′ 6″||1.25 miles||Llandudno, Wales||Cable-hauled tourist railway carrying passengers to the top of the Great Orme headland.|
|Groudle Glen Railway||1896-1962||2′||.75 mile||Isle of Man||Tourist railway along the clifftops at Groudle Glen|
|Groudle Glen Railway||1986-present||2′||Unknown||Isle of Man||Tourist railway along the clifftops at Groudle Glen|
|Herne Bay Pier Railway||1896-1939||3′ 4.5″||.75 mile||Herne Bay, England||Pier construction railway that was retained for passenger use.|
|Hythe Pier Railway||1879-present||2′||.33 mile||Hythe, England||Construction railway for the opening of the pier in 1881. In 1909 railway was relaid as a pleasure line using 240 volt electric locomotives.|
|Isle of Man Steam Railway||1873-present||3′||46 miles||Douglas, Isle of Man||An extensive network of lines covering the island. Now reduced to one main line that is principally a steam-hauled tourist railway.|
|Jersey Railway||1870-1936||3′ 6″||8.5 miles||Saint Helier, Jersey||Passenger and goods services in the island of Jersey.|
|Launceston Steam Railway||1983-present||1′ 11.5″||2.5 miles||Launceston, England||Steam-hauled tourist railway built on the trackbed of the standard gauge North Cornwall Railway|
|Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway||1986-present||2′||.75 mile||Leadhills, Scotland||Passenger carrying tourist line built on a standard gauge trackbed.|
|Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway||1904-1934||2′ 6″||8.5 miles||Leek, England||Agricultural and passenger service for the Manifold valley in the Derbyshire Dales.|
|Leighton Buzzard Railway||1968-present||2′||3 miles||Leighton Buzzard, England||Heritage railway operating over the tracks of the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway|
|Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway||1958-1985||2′||Unknown||Humberstone, England||Tourist line built using ex-Nocton Potato Estate railway equipment|
|Llanberis Lake Railway||1972-present||1′ 11.5″||Unknown||Llanberis, Wales||Tourist railway running along part of the trackbed of the Padarn Railway using equipment from the Dinorwic quarry railway.|
|Llechwedd Slate Caverns||1972-present||2′||Unknown||Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales||Passenger carrying railway, mainly underground in the Llechwedd slate mine. Operated with battery-electric locomotives.|
|Lynton and Barnstaple Railway||1898-1935||1′ 11.5″||19.25 miles||Barnstaple, England||Carried passengers and general freight for 20 miles of rugged countryside around Exmoor, Devon. Part of the line is now being restored as a heritage railway, and reopened to passengers in 2004. The line was extended to just over 1 mile in May, 2006.|
|Lynton and Barnstaple Railway||2003-present||600 mm||1 mile||Woody Bay, England||Restoration of the Lynton and Barnstaple railway, on the trackbed of the original line|
|Manx Electric Railway||1893 -present||3′||17 miles||Douglas, Isle of Man||An electric tramway running from Douglas to Ramsey along the east coast of the Isle of Man.|
|Manx Northern Railway||1879-1905||3′||16.75 miles||Ramsey, Isle of Man||Steam railway from St. John's to Ramsey on the Isle of Man. Incorporated into the Isle of Man Railway in 1905.|
|Foxdale Railway||1886-1905||3′||2.5 miles||Foxdale, Isle of Man||Carried lead and silver ore from mines at Foxdale to St John's for onward transport to Ramsey via the Manx Northern Railway who operated the line.|
|North Gloucestershire Railway||1985-present||2′||0.2 miles||Toddington, England||A short railway laid beside the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway, replacing the Dowty Railway Society|
|North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways||1877-1916||1′ 11.5″||12.25 miles||Dinas, Wales||One of the precursors to the WHR. Carried passengers, slate and general freight.|
|Plynlimon and Hafan Tramway||1897-1899||2′ 3″||7 miles||Talybont, Wales||Short-lived line serving the lead mines around Hafan.|
|Portmadoc, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway||1901-1908||1′ 11.5″||Unknown||Porthmadog, Wales||An attempt to connect Porthmadog to Beddgelert and the NWNGR. Although it never opened to traffic, much of the trackbed was built and formed part of the WHR.|
|Radstock Light Railway||1995-present||2′||Unknown||Radstock, England||Equipment on the Somerset and Avon Railway Association's site, mostly from the former Vobster Railway.|
|Ramsgate Harbour Railway||Unknown-1965||2′||Unknown||Ramsgate, England||Steeply graded tourist line running mainly in a tunnel under Ramsgate|
|Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway||1875-1913||3′||6.75 miles||Ravenglass, England||A line serving the iron ore mines and local passengers in the western Lake District. Was subsequently converted to a 1 ft 3 in miniature railway which is still in operation.|
|Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway||1927-present||1′ 3″||13.5 miles||Kent, England||Running a mixture of steam and diesel trains; mainly operates as a tourist attraction but also provides local services and transport to and from school for local children.|
|Rothesay and Ettrick Bay Light Railway||1879-1936||4′, converted to 3′ 6″ in 1902||4.75 miles||Rothesay, Scotland||A horse tramway, converted to an electric tramway in 1936.|
|Rudyard Lake Steam Railway||1985-present||Unknown||Unknown||Rudyard, near Leek, England||Steam operated one and a half mile long railway along the side of Rudyard Lake.|
|Rye and Camber Tramway||1895-1946||3′||2.5 miles||Rye, England||Passenger railway serving the seaside resorts and golf courses around Rye.|
|Shipley Glen Tramway||1895-present||1′ 8″||Unknown||Saltaire, England||Rope-hauled inclined tourist railway.|
|Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway||1969-present||2′ 6″||3.5 miles||Sittingbourne, England||Heritage railway founded by the Locomotive Club of Great Britain, operating over part of the Bowater Light Railway.|
|Snaefell Mountain Railway||1895-present||3′ 6″||5 miles||Laxey, Isle of Man||Steeply graded electric-powered Fell railway climbing to the summit of Snaefell, the Isle of Man's highest peak.|
|Snowdon Mountain Railway||1896-present||800 mm||5 miles||Llanberis, Wales||Britain's only rack railway, built to carry passengers to the top of Wales' highest mountain.|
|South Tynedale Railway||1983-present||2′||2.25 miles||Alston, England||Steam-hauled line running on part of the trackbed of the standard gauge Newcastle and Carlisle Railway's Haltwhistle to Alston Branch.|
|Southend Pier Railway||1830-2005||3′ 6″ and 3′||.75 mile||Southend, England||Pier construction railway later used for passenger haulage. Converted to 3′ gauge in the late 1970s.|
|Southwold Railway||1879-1929||3′||8.75 miles||Southwold, England||Steam-hauled line connecting Southwold with Halesworth along the Suffolk coast.|
|Steeple Grange Light Railway||1988-present||1′ 6″||Unknown||Wirksworth, England||Passenger-hauling minimum gauge railway running on the trackbed of the Killer's Branch of the standard gauge Cromford and High Peak Railway.|
|Talyllyn Railway||1865-present||2′ 3″||7.25 miles||Tywyn, Wales||Built to carry slate from Bryneglwys quarry to the coast. First heritage railway in the world to be preserved and run by volunteers.|
|Teifi Valley Railway||1986-present||2′||Unknown||Henllan, Wales||A steam-hauled tourist railway on the trackbed of a standard gauge GWR branch to Camarthen.|
|Torrington and Marland Railway||1880-1971||3′||6.25 miles||Torrington, England||Built to carry clay from the pits at Marland.|
|Twyford Waterworks Trust||Unknown-present||2′||Unknown||Twyford, England||Short industrial narrow gauge railway line|
|Vale of Rheidol Railway||1902-present||1′ 11.75″||11.75 miles||Aberystwyth, Wales||Originally built to serve the lead mines of the Vale of Rheidol and the tourist trade, now a purely heritage line.|
|Volks Electric Railway||1883-present||2′ 8.5″||1.25 miles||Brighton, England||Britain's first electric railway, running along the beachfront at Brighton.|
|Welsh Highland Railway||1922-1937||1′ 11.5″||22 miles||Porthmadog, Wales||An ambitious but short lived project to create Britain's longest narrow gauge railway. Now being restored.|
|Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon)||1998-present||1′ 11.5″||12 miles||Caernarfon, Wales||Restoration of the north end of the Welsh Highland Railway.|
|Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog)||1964-present||600 mm||1.25 miles||Porthmadog, Wales||Restoration of the south end of the Welsh Highland Railway.|
|Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway||1903-1956||2′ 6″||9 miles||Welshpool, Wales||Agricultural and passenger services in the Welsh borders.|
|Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway||1963-present||2′ 6″||8 miles||Welshpool, Wales||Heritage revival of the line.|
|West Lancashire Light Railway||1966-present||2′||0.43 miles||Hesketh Bank, England||Developed as a private railway, now operating as a tourist line with ex-industrial steam and diesel locomotives.|
|Wey Valley Light Railway||before 1971-1982||2′||Unknown||Farnham, England||Passenger-carrying railway run by Farnham District Scouts. Became the Old Kiln Light Railway|
|Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramway||1886-1926||3′ 6″||4.5 miles||Milton Keynes, England||Steam-hauled roadside tramway.|
|Yaxham Light Railway||1967-present||2′||Unknown||Yaxham, England||Steam-hauled passenger line at the former GER railway station at Yaxham.|
|Name||Years of operation||Gauge||Length||Location||Notes|
|Ardkinglas Railway||before 1879-early 1900s||2′||Unknown||Ardkinglas Estate, Scotland||Private estate railway|
|Dalmunzie Railway||1920-1978||2′ 6″||2.5 miles||Dalmunzie Hotel, Scotland||Estate railway serving the grouse shooting moors and stone quarry above the hotel|
|Duffield Bank Railway||1874-1916||1′ 3″||Unknown||Duffield, Derbyshire||Private demonstration estate railway built by Sir Arthur Heywood|
|Eaton Hall Railway||1896-1947||1′ 3″||3.75 miles||Eaton Hall, Cheshire||Estate railway connecting Eaton Hall to the GWR at Balderton partially reconstructed as the Eaton Park Railway|
|Saint Michael's Mount Cliff Railway||1912-present||1372 mm||200 m||St. Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall||Funicular running mainly in tunnel, linking quay with house. Purpose: goods traffic.|
|Sand Hutton Light Railway||1912-1932||1′ 6″||7 miles||Warthill, England||Passenger and general freight line serving the Sand Hutton estate.|
|Amberley Working Museum||1979||Present||mainly||?||Amberley, England||Large industrial museum with extensive narrow gauge railway collection, mainly from lines in the southeast of England.|
|Armley Mills Industrial Museum||?||Present||various||60 yards||Leeds, England||Industrial museum highlighting the industrial heritage of Leeds. Has a significant collection of Leeds-built locomotives and a short demonstration line.|
|Brockham Museum||1962||1983||various||?||Dorking, England||Large collection of narrow gauge railway equipment from the south-east of England. The collection moved to the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum|
|Bursledon Brickworks Museum||1990||Present||?||Bursledon, England||Steam-railway run by the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society.|
|China Clay Industry Museum||?||Present||?||St Austell, England||Static display of ex-Lee Moor tramway locomotive|
|Conwy Valley Railway Museum||1965 (?)||Present||Various||?||Betws-y-Coed, Wales||Small railway museum including a number of narrow gauge artifacts.|
|Dowty Railway Preservation Society||1962||1985||various||?||Tewkesbury, England||Society of railway enthusiasts from the Dowty Group of companies with a substantial collection of narrow gauge locomotives. See the North Gloucestershire Railway entry.|
|Durley Light Railway||1968||after 1996||Durley, England||Collection of steam and diesel locomotives originally located at Stoke Park sand pit from 1962, moved to Durley in 1968 where a railway was established.|
|Gloddfa Ganol Narrow Gauge Railway Center||1978||2000 (?)||?||Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales||At one time the largest collection of narrow gauge locomotives in Britain, housed in the former Oakely slate quarry.|
|Golden Valley Light Railway||1980s?||Present||?||Butterley, England||Growing narrow gauge collection and passenger line at the Midland Railway Centre.|
|Herefordshire Waterworks Museum||1982||Present||?||Hereford, England||Short demonstration line.|
|Hollycombe Steam Collection||1968||Present||?||Liphook, England||Working steam museum|
|Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway Museum||1980s||Present||1000 mm (3 ft 3 in)||?||Irchester, England||Collection of rolling stock from Midlands ironstone railways and a short demonstration line.|
|Kew Bridge Steam Museum||1986||Present||200 yards||London, England||Waterworks museum with a short demonstration line, run since 1992 by the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society|
|Klondyke Steam Museum||1981||1982||?||Draycott-on-the-clay, England||A proposed steam museum using the Ffestiniog Railway locomotive Palmerston. Never opened (?)|
|Monkton Farleigh Mine Museum||before 1987||1990||?||Bath, England||4wDM locomotive at a mining museum in an abandoned quarry.|
|Morwellham Open Air Museum||?||Present||?||Tavistock, England||Passenger-carrying tourist railway at the museum|
|Moseley Industrial Narrow Gauge Tramway and Museum Tumblydown Farm railway||2001||Present||600 yards||Tolgus Mount, England||Part of the original Moseley Tramway collection now relocated to Cornwall.|
|Moseley Railway Trust||1968||Present||mainly||?||Newcastle-under-Lyme, England||A significant collection of industrial locomotives currently in store, but due to re-open at the Apedale Heritage Center in 2006.|
|Narrow Gauge Railway Museum||1956||Present||Various||?||Tywyn, Wales||Static exhibits at the Talyllyn Railway's Tywyn Wharf station.|
|North Western Museum of Science and Industry||before 1981||Present||?||Liverpool, England||Static exhibit of ex-Isle of Man Railway No. 3 Pender|
|Penrhyn Castle Railway Museum||1951||Present||various||Bangor, Wales||Collection of industrial narrow gauge locomotives and artifacts|
|Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum||2004||Present||various||Norden, England||Collection of narrow gauge rolling stock from the Purbeck clay mining industry. A demonstration railway is under construction.|
|Tolgus Tin Mine Museum||?||?||2 ft 2 in (660 mm)||?||Redruth, England||Static display of mining locomotive|
|Welland Valley Vintage Traction Club||?||?||?||Market Harborough, England||Ex-ironstone quarry railway equipment on static exhibition, including Kettering Ironstone Railway No. 8|
|Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum||?||2004||?||Westonzoyland, England||Small industrial museum at restored pumphouse with a short demonstration railway.|
Many tourist-oriented theme and amusement parks, stately homes etc. include narrow-gauge railways as part of the attraction as well as to provide internal transportation within the venue.
|Name||Years of operation||Gauge||Length||Location||Notes|
|Alton Towers Railway||1929-1996||2′||Unknown||Leek, England||A short tourist line at the Alton Towers amusement park.|
|Amerton Railway||1990-present||2′||0.5 mi||Amerton, England||A steam-hauled passenger line running round the Amerton Working Farm.|
|Battersea Park Far Tottering and Oystercreek Railway||1951-1953||1′ 3″||0.5 mi||Battersea, England||A whimsical attraction at the Festival of Britain Pleasure Gardens built to the designs of the Punch cartoonist Emett.|
|Bicton Woodland Railway||1963-present||1′ 6″||Unknown||Budleigh Salterton, England||A tourist railway running round Bicton Gardens, originally equipped with stock from the Woolwich Arsenal Railway.|
|Billing Aquadrome Railway||?-present||2′||Unknown||Billing, Northamptonshire||A lakeside circuit at the Billing Aquadrome holiday park.|
|Blenheim Palace Railway||1990s?-present||1′ 3″||Unknown||Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire||The line runs between car park and palace, through parkland surrounding the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough. The steam-outline diesel locomotive, built by Alan Keef, is named after Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim in 1874.|
|Bressingham Steam Museum||1970s-present||2′||2.5 mi||Diss, Norfolk||Short passenger carrying line around the famous Bloom gardens at Bressingham; part of a larger steam collection.|
|Chessington Zoo||1970-1978||2′||Unknown||Chessington, England||Passenger carrying tourist line that was built to replace a 12 in gauge miniature railway.|
|Cotswold Wildlife Park||1970s-present||2′||Unknown||Burford, England||Passenger carrying tourist line around the wildlife park.|
|Doddington Park Light Railway||?-present||2′||Unknown||Chipping Sodbury, England||A tourist railway in the grounds of Doddington House stately home.|
|Drusillas Park Railway||1946-present||2′||Unknown||Alfriston, England||Short tourist line around an amusement park.|
|Gardner's Pleasure Resort||1893-1934||Unknown||Unknown||Riddlesdown, England||Early pleasure railway with home-built steam locomotive which survived until 1948.|
|Knebworth Park and Winter Green Railway||1972-1990||2′||1.5 mi||Knebworth, England||Steam-hauled passenger line in the grounds of Knebworth House|
|Margam Train||?-present||2′||Unknown||Margam County Park, Wales||Tourist railway round the Country Park hauled by a steam-outline diesel locomotive|
|Old Kiln Light Railway||1982-present||2′||Unknown||Tilford, England||Short steam-hauled railway at the Rural Life Centre.|
|Overstone Solarium Light Railway||1969-?||2′||Unknown||Sywell, England||A short line running as a tourist attraction round the Overstone Solarium amusement park.|
|Seaton Tramway||1971-present||2′ 9″||3 mi||Seaton, England||Electric tramway using half-scale models of trams.|
|Telford Town Tramway||1980-1990?||2′||Unknown||Telford, England||A steam-hauled tramway in Telford new town.|
|Thorpe Park Treasure Island Railway||1984-present (?)||2′||Unknown||Chertsey, England||Short tourist line around an amusement park.|
|Thorpe Park Canada Creek Railway||1989 (?)-present||2′||Unknown||Chertsey, England||Short tourist line at an amusement park.|
|Whipsnade and Umfolozi Railway||1970-present||2′ 6″||Unknown||Dunstable, England||Steam-hauled passenger line running around the grounds of Whipsnade Zoo. Rolling stock came from the Bowater Light Railway.|
|Yafford Mill Railway||1994-2000||2′ 6″||0.75 mi||Newport, England||Short-lived passenger railway using ex-MOD diesel locomotives and stock built by Alan Keef|
These are private lines or collections owned by individuals or small groups and generally not open to the public.
Many British military establishments and former UK Government-owned explosives sites used narrow gauge railways. These locations were often subject to the Official Secrets Act and other government restrictions, so many of them are less well documented.
The industrial use of narrow-gauge railways was quite extensive amongst the various military and civilian explosive factories, for example ICI Nobel's works at Ardeer and the Agency Explosive Factories run by ICI Nobel in the Second World War. To give an example, the Ministry of Supply (MOS) Factory Dalbeattie used 30 inch (750 mm) gauge with a variety of bogie trucks mostly pushed by teams of three to six women. Stores, explosives, chemicals, rubbish and sewage, were all transported on this narrow-gauge system, which used at least 8 miles (12 kilometers) of track.
Great Britain was home to many industrial narrow gauge railways, ranging from temporary hand-powered lines a few yards long to significant locomotive-worked complexes of lines that served substantial industrial concerns.