Railways outside Great Britain 

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The ‘Global Metro’ Most major cities around the world have an underground metro system, known to Londoners as ‘the tube’; what would it be like if there was a ‘global metro’ that linked all the cities that possess their own metro system? See also London Underground.


European and former USSR railways

Ireland (N & S)

31/1/1961, The West Claire Railway, immortalised in songs by Percy French, closed.

10/7/1949, The last tramcar ran in Dublin.

30/8/1906, A new express rail service linking Cork and Waterford with London via the new ports of Rosslare and Fishguard was inaugurated.

12/5/1866, The direct railway from Cork to Macroom opened.

31/12/1863, The railway from Londonderry to Lough Swilly opened.

5/9/1853, The Waterford to Tramore railway opened.

1/10/1852, The Londonderry to Newtown Limavady railway, 18 ¾ miles, opened.

13/9/1852, The Newton Stewart to Omagh railway, 9 ½ miles, opened.

10/6/1852, The Wellington Inn to Mullaglass railway, 6 miles, opened.

3/5/1852, The Tipperary to Clonmel railway, 24 ½ miles, opened.

9/2/1852, The Strabane to Newton Stewart railway, 9 ¾ miles, opened.

6/1/1852, The railway from Portadown to Mullaglass, 16 ¾ miles, opened.

8/12/1851, The railway from Cork to Bailinhassig, 10 miles, opened.

1/8/1851, The Dublin to Galway railway, 76 ¼ miles, opened.

14/11/1850, In Kilkenny, Ireland, the Bagenalstown to Laristown Junction railway, 10 ¾ miles, opened.

6/5/1850, The railway from Belfast to Newtonards, 13 ½ miles, opened.

1/11/1849, The Mallow to Cork railway, 19 ¾ miles, opened.

17/3/1849. The railway from Limerick Junction to Mallow opened.

2/8/1848, The railway from Belfast to Holywood opened.

3/7/1848, The Thurles to Limerick Junction railway, 20 ½ miles, opened.

11/5/1848, The Kilkenny to Thomastown railway, 10 ¾ miles, opened.

11/4/1848, The railway from Belfast to Ballymena, 33 ½ miles, also the Carrickfergus branch (3 miles) and the Randalstown branch (2 miles) opened.

9/5/1848, The Limerick to Tipperary railway, 24 ¾ miles, opened.

26/5/1844, The Dublin to Drogheda railway opened.

12/8/1839, The railway from Belfast to Lisburn opened; extended to Armagh, 1/3/1848.

17/12/1834, The first railway in Ireland opened, from Dublin to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), 6 miles.


1962, Bodo, in the far north of Norway, was linked to Oslo by rail.

15/11/1950, Hjuksebø train disaster: Four runaway freight cars collided with passenger train no. 72, en route from Kristiansand to Oslo. With fourteen deaths resulting from the crash, it remained Norway's worst railway accident in peacetime until the Tretten train disaster in 1975.

1944, Stavanger was linked to Oslo by rail.

1938, Kristiansand was liked to Oslo by rail.

1921, Trondheim was linked to Oslo by rail.

1909, The Oslo to Bergen railway was built.

1905, Norway became independent from Sweden. Previously, its lines had ran mainly to Stockholm. After 1905 the Norwegian Government commenced the construction of a unified national rail system linking the major sities to Oslo.

1/9/1854, The first railway in Norway opened, Oslo (Christiania) to Eidsvoll, 70 km.


1917, A mineral line 2.5 km long, 1-metre gauge, opened at King’s Bay to serve the coal mines. It was the most northerly railway in the world. It closed in 1929, reopened in 1945, and closed permanently in 1965 after a mine explosion.


1950, The Stockholm metro (T-bahn) began operations.

1902, The railway from Kiruna was completed to the sea at Narvik (Norway). This line was necessary to facilitate the bulk export of iron ore from the great deposits at Kiruna. The Gulf Stream ensured that Narvik was ice-free all year round. The Narvik line was technically difficult due to mountainous terrain, necessitating long tuinnels. An earlier line from the smaller deposits at Gallivare had been built in the 1880s to the Baltic port of Lulea, but this port was icebound during the winter.

1/12/1856, The first steam railway in Sweden opened; Gothenburg to Jonsered and Malmo to Lund.

1849, The first railway in Sweden opened (horsedrawn).


1862, The first railway in Finland opened, from Helsinki to Hameenlinna.


1927, Danish railways begn replacing steam locomotives with diesel; the process was completed in 1970,when the last Danish steam train ran.

26/6/1847, The first railway in Denmark opened; Copenhagen to Roskilde. The Altona to Kiel railway, opened 1844, was in Danish territory when built but from 1864 has been in German territory.


1927, The railway from Rotterdam to Amsterdam was electrified.

1908, The ralway from Rotterdam to The Hague was electrified.

1/1/1938, The Netherlands railways were nationalised, having gone bankrupt in 1937.

24/9/1839, The first passenger railway opened in The Netherlands.  It ran from Amsterdam to Haarlem.


1935, The first line in Belgium was electrified; Brussels to Antwerp.

1911, Construction began on the Brussels Midi line; a 6-track route through the centre of Brussels, part underground, part elevated, linking the city’s Nord and Midi termini. However World War One and economic depression delayed completion until 1938.

5/5/1835. The railway from Brussels to Malines opened (14.5 miles). The first railway in Belgium. Belgian State railways was the first State-owned railway company.


15/5/1933, Germany inaugurated what was then the fastest train service in the world, between Berlin and Hamburg, covering 178 miles in 138 minutes, an average speed of 77.4 mph.

15/2/1902. The Berlin underground railway opened.

1879, Prussia began to nationalise its railways, a process completed by 1914.

1843, The Heidelberg to Karlsruhe railway opened.

19/9/1841. The first railway to cross a frontier was opened between Strasbourg and Basle.

1840, The Magdeburg to Leipzig line opened.

1839, The first long-distance line in Germany opened, 121 km from Leipzig to Dresden.

7/12/1835, The first railway in Germany, the Ludwigsbahn, opened between Nuremberg and Furth.

14/2/1834, Construction of the first railway in Germany, 7 km from Nuremberg to Furth, was sanctioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria.


1933, A new 590 km line to link the coal mines of Silesia to the new port of Gdynia was completed. It was built by a French company, due to financial problems in Poland at the time.


1910, The Swiss railways were nationalised.

9/8/1847, In Switzerland the Zurich to Baden railway, 24 km, opened.

15/6/1844. The first railway in Switzerland opened, Basle to St Ludwig.


1872, The railway through Vaduz opened.


27/1/1908, Austria announced plans to build a railway south towards Salonika, to assist trade and extend Austro-Hungarian political influence.

1860, The line from Vienna to Belgrade opened.

1853, The first railway through the Alps, from Vienna to Trieste, opened.

1852, The line from Vienna to Salzburg opened.

6/1/1838. The first steam railway line in Austria opened, between Vienna and Wagram via Florisdorf.

7/9/1827, The first railway in Austria opened. This was from Budweis to Trojanov, later extended to Linz, using horse traction.


15/12/2012, The 14·3 km extension of orbital tram route T3 following the Boulevards des Maréchaux ring road around the eastern side of Paris was opened for revenue service. This trebled the length of T3, which ran for 7·9 km across the south of Paris from Pont du Garigliano to Porte d’Ivry since 2006, and added 24 stops.

22/9/1981. The TGV was inaugurated in France. It ran at 300 kph (186 mph), was a quarter of a mile long, and set a record speed of 513.3 kph on 18/5/1990.

20/5/1977, The Orient Express, between Paris and Istanbul, ran for the last time.

25/9/1976. It was announced that the Orient Express, which had run between Istanbul and Paris since 1883, was to be withdrawn.

1961, Paris’ RER (Reseau Express Regional) railway network was begun.

1937, The Paris to Le Mans line was electrified.

12/10/1936, A London to Paris through train service began.

1914, Work on the line from le Puy to Lalevade d’Ardeche was suspended; it was never resumed.

10/7/1900. The Paris Metro opened.  It was designed by Fulgence Bienvenue. The first line ran from Vincennes to Port Maillot.

6/10/1883, The Orient Express made its maiden run from Paris to Bucharest, Romania, in just under 78 hours. The route was extended to Constantinople, now Istanbul, in 1889.

1876, The Wagon Lits Company was founded, taking over 53 sleeping rail cars from an earlier enterprise. From 1889 Wagon Lit services began in north Africa, in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.

1867, The railway reached Lourdes. The number of pilgrims to the site rose rapidly, reaching 100,000 in the year 1972 alone.

3/1847, The Paris and Rouen railway was extended to Le Havre.

11/6/1842, France passed the Railway Law Act, stipulating that all French railways were to be under public ownership, with the State directing what lines were to be built and their operation. However lines could be leased to private  operators.

19/9/1841. The first railway to cross a frontier was opened between Strasbourg and Basle.

26/8/1837, The Paris to St Germain railway opened.

9/7/1835. The St Etienne to Lyons railway opened to passengers.

1830, The Mulhouse-Tann railway opened.

25/6/1830, The first section of the St Etienne to Lyons railway, from Givors to Rive de Gier, opened. It was initially worked by both horse and steam. Horse traction ceased on 1/8/1844.

1/10/1828, The horse-drawn St Etienne to Andrezieux railway opened; the first railway in France. I6 was extended to Roanne in 1833, and was converted to steam in 1844.


1964, The main line through Monaco was removed from the sea front and put in a tunnel. It was electrified in 1969.


28/10/1856, The first railway in Portugal opened; Lisbon to Carregado, 39 km.


1939, The Spanish broad gauge network was nationalised.

1875, First railway in Majorca.

1870, First railway to Cordoba.

1850, First railway in Madrid.

28/10/1848, The first railway in Spain opened; Barcelona to Mataro, 29km.


20/8/1925. Rome’s underground railway opened.

1857, The Milan to Venice railway opened.

1854, The Turin to Genoa railway opened.

1853, The first railway through the Alps, from Vienna to Trieste, opened.

1846, The railway reached Venice, via a 1.2 km causeway over the lagoon, ending the city’s status as an island.

4/10/1839, The first railway opened in Italy: Naples to Portici.


1883, The Valetta to Citta Vechia railway, 12 km at 1-metre gauge, opened. It was unable to compete from the start with horse-drawn road transport, and was taken over by the State in 1892, With the advent of mmotorised buses and cars, the line closed in 1931.


12/8/1888, The railway from Budapest to Constantinople opened.

15/7/1846, The first railway in Hungary opened; Pest to Vacs, 35 km.

Serbia / Yugoslavia

27/11/1975, A new modern railway from Belgrade to the Mediterranean port of Bar opened (construction began 1952).

1886, The branch line from the Serbia-Nis main line opened to Smederevo (Semendria).

15/9/1884, The first railway in Serbia opened; Belgrade to Nish, 151 miles.


16/11/1979, Bucharest Metro Line One opened, from Timpur Noi to Semanatoarea, 8.63 kilometres.

19/10/1869, The first railway in Romania opened; Bucharest to Giurgiu, 70 km.


1899, The Sofia to Varna railway opened.

1888, The railway across Bulgaria from Dragoman via Sofia and Plovdiv to Silvengrad (and on to Istanbul) opened; this routewas used by the Orient Express.

1866, The first railway in Bulgaria opened, from Ruschuk (Ruse) to Varna.


1949, The railway reached the capital, Tirana.

7/11/1947, The first railway in Albania opened. It ran from Durres to Pekinj, 42km.


1916, A 90 kilometre railway was completed linking the Greek railways to the rest of Europe.


21/10/1905, A 110 km line of gauge 0.75 metres opened from Famagusta (Cyprus) via Nicosia to Morphou. It closed on 31/12/1951.

1869, The first railway in Greece opened. It was 10km long and ran from Atens to the port of Piraeus. It was electrified in 1904.

Russia/former USSR

9/7/1935. Engineers building the Moscow Underground discovered Ivan the Terrible’s torture chamber.

15/5/1935, The Moscow Metro railway was opened by Joseph Stalin.

1905, The Orenburg to Tashkent railway opened.

1/1/1905. The Trans-Siberian railway officially opened. Its aim was to facilitate trade between Russia and China. Furs, grain, and cattle from Siberia would be traded for tea, silk, and cotton from China.

21/7/1904. The Trans Siberian Railway was finally completed. The 4,607 miles of track took 13 years to lay.

1/10/1903, The Russian railway system was linked to European railways.

1898. The Perm to Kotlas (River Dvina) railway opened.

30/11/1897, The Vologda to Archangel railway opened.

1891, Construction began on the Trans-Siberian railway, Moscow to Vladivostock. See 21/7/1904.

1887, The North Caucasus Railway, connecting Baku and Novorossiak, opened.

1884, The line to Tyumen opened.

1883, The Baku to Batoumi and Tiflis railway opened.

1878, The line from Perm to Ekaterinberg opened.

13/11/1851, The railway between Moscow and St Petersburg opened.

1838, The first railway in Russia opened, from St Petersburg to the Czar’s Summer Palace at Tsarskoe Selo.


1905, Samarkand was connected by rail with Tashkent.

1888, Samarkand was connected by rail with the Caspian Sea.


Asian railways (ex former USSR)


1870, The first section of the Anatolian Railway, from Haidar Pasha to Ismid, 58 miles opened.  Ismid to Angora, 301 miles, opened in 1892. A branch from Eskishehr (between Ismid and Angora) to Konieh, 276 miles, opened in 1896.


8/1892, The railway from Jerusalem to Jaffa (Tel Aviv) opened.


17/7/1940, The Baghdad Railway was completed.

1899, The Baghdad Railway was first proposed in Germany. This was a scheme to build a railway from Berlin via the Bosphorus to Baghdad and possibly on to the Shatt al Arab, thereby linking to the Persian Gulf.The scheme alarmed Britain which perceived a threat to its interests oin southern Persia and India; also Russia which was seeking to develop the railway system in Persia from its own territories to the north.

Saudi Arabia

1864, The Hejaz Railway. A ‘pilgrim’s railway’ was first proposed, to run from Damascus and Cairo to Mecca and Medina. The idea failed to gain headway until the British gained influence in the region due to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. That incentivised Germany, along with Ottoman Turkey, to create a rail link under Turkish control down into Saudi Arabia. A Turkish engineer surveyed the route in 1900. The route would follow the old caravan route, which had water supplies, needed by steam engines as well as people. A unique rail guage of 105 cm was chosen so no other nation’s rolling stock would fit. The route from Damascus to Medina, some 1400 km, opened on 1/9/1908. During World War One, the Arab revolt against Ottoman Turkey, led by Lawrence of Arabia, resulted in this railway being largely destroyed. However the northern section between Ma’an and Damascus was repaired by the Allies as they needed it for the assault on Damsacus and further north in 1918. Plans to restore the entire line were made in the early 1960s but were cancelled due to the Six Day War in 1967. Restoration plans continue to be proposed in the early 21st century.


1/1939, The Trans Iranian Railway was completed, after nearly 12 years under construction, linking the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf.


13/5/1861. The first railway in what is now (2016) Pakistan opened, from Karachi City to Kochi, 105 miles.


1854, The first line of the East India Railway Company opened,

18/4/1853, The first railway in India opened; Mumbai to Thana, 30 km. By 1856 rail lines linked Mumbai, Kolkata, Madras and Nagpur.

Sri Lanka

2/10/1865, The first railway in Sri Lanka opened, from Colombo to Ambepussa.

Myanmar (Burma)

1888, The railway from Yangon (Rangoon) to Mandalay opened.


1885, The first railway in Vietnam opened, from Saigon to My Tho.


1956, the Trans-Mongolian Railway opened, linking to Beijing and to the Trans-Baikal Railway at Naushki.


28/9/2009, Line Four of the Beijing Metro, 28.2 km long, opened.

8/12/2007, Construction work began on Line L2 of the Beijing Metro, running 23 km from the southern terminus of Line Five. Trains began running in December 2010.

2006, The first railway from China into Tibet opened, from Golmud to Lhasa.

1/10/1969, The first line of the Beijing Metro, 24 km long, opened. Construction had been approved in 1965.

1936, The Canton to Hankow railway was completed.

1912, The first Chinese President, Sun Yat Sen, called for a railway to be built from China into Tibet. This was a political move, to counter the British occupation of Tibet proceeding from India.

1888, The Tangshan to Tientsin railway opened. It was extended to Shanghaikuan in 1894,and to Feng’tai near Beijing in 1896.

1866, First railway in China opened.


1/4/1987, Japan privatised its railways, to seven companies.

1964, The ‘Bullet Train’ was inaugurated between Tokyo and Osaka. It averaged 163 km/hr (101 mph).

1927, The frst line of the Tokyo subway opened. This was the first subway in Asia. It ran between Ueno and Asakusa.

16/3/1906 Japanese railways were nationalised.

14/10/1872, The Yokohama to Shinagawa line was extended to Tokyo.

12/6/1872, The first railway in Japan opened; Yokohama to Shinagawa.


24/11/1892, The first railway in The Philippines, from Manila Bay to Gulf of Linguven, 120 miles, opened.


1864, The first railway in Indonesia opened, from Semarang to Jogkakarta.


Australasian railways


23/2/1970, Passenger services began on the railway between Perth and Sydney, Australia, a distance of 2,461 miles.

22/10/1917, The Trans-Australia Railway opened, from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta.

1914, The first railway in the Australian Capita, Territory opened, a 10 km goods  line to Canberra from Queanbeyan, New South Wales. The line began taking passengers from 1923.

1912, Construction of the Trans-Australia railway began.

10/1889, The first railway in the Northern Territory opened.

1871, The first railway in Western Australia opened. It was a private timber line from Lockville to Yoganup, south of Perth.

1868, The first railway in Tasmania opened. It ran 72 km  between Launceston and Deloraine.

31/7/1865, The Ipswich to Grantchester railway, 21 miles, opened. The first railway in Queensland.

21/4/1856, The Adelaide to Port Adelaide railway, Australia, opened.

26/9/1855, The first railway in New South Wales opened, Sydney to Parramatta.

12/9/1854, The Flinders Street to Port Melbourne railway opened, the first steam railway in Australia.

18/5/1854, The Port Elliot & Goolwa railway, South Australia, opened. Drawn by horse, this was the first public railway in Australia, carrying goods and people.

1837, The first railway in Australia ran in Tasmania from Norfolk Bay to Long Bay across the Tasman Peninsula. Passengers were pushed in open wagons by teams of four convicts.

New Zealand

27/2/1971, In New Zealand, the Catlins River branch railway through Maclennan (opened 1915) closed.

1864, A railway, 18km was opened from Westport to the coal mines. Westport to Fairdown via Sergeants Hill opened 31/12/1875; extended to Seddonville 1895. These railways remained isolated until joined to the national network by the opening of the Stillwater to Westport via Buller Girge railway, 1942.

1/12/1863, The first steam railway in New Zealand opened, from Christchurch to Ferrymead.


African railways


1871, The Alguers to Oran railway, 430 km, opened.

8/7/1862, First railway opened in Algeria. It ran 50 km south west from Algeirs.

The foundation stone of Blidah Station, on this line, was laid in 1859.


9/1908, First railway in Morocco opened, from Casablanca to Ber Rashid. This line was to export the agricultural produce from the area.


1987, The Cairo metro opened; the first subway system in Africa.

1858, The Alexandria to Suez railway opened.


1856, The first railway line in Africa opened, between Cairo and Alexandria.

1906, The Suakin to Berber railway opened.


7/6/1917, The railway from Addis Ababa to Djibouti was completed.

6/2/1902, France agreed with Ethiopia to finance a railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa. Britain and Italy both protested.


1885, The first railway in West Africa opened, between Goree (Dakar) and St Louis.

Sierra Leone,

1976, The Sierra Leone railway system closed.

1905, The railway reached Pendembu.

1903, The railway reached Bo.

1896, The railway from Freetown to Kissy opened.

Cote D’Ivoire

1903, Railway opened running inland from Abidjan.


1/1/1935, The rail terminus at Parakou, Benin, opened.

1905, The railway reached Abomey.


1934, The railway reached Blitta.

18/7/1905, The first railway in Togo opened; from Lome 45 km to Anecho.


1912, Railway to Kano opened.

1901, The railway reached Ibadan.

Congo (Republic of),

1962, The mineral line from Mont Belo to M’Bindo opened.

29/5/1934, The railway from Pointe Noir on the Atlantoc coast to Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, 515 km, opened.


1892, The first railway in Zaire opened; from Matadi to Leopoldville (now, Kinshasa).


26/12/1901, The Uganda Railway was completed, linking Mombasa with Lake Victoria.


2/2/1914, A 900-mile railway opened between Dar-Es-Salaam and Tanganyika.


28/8/1928, The Benguela Railway opened, for copper exports.


1908, The Shire Highlands Railway, from Nsanje on the Shire River to Blantyre, opened.


1956, The railway between Bulowayo and Lourenco Marques opened.

6/10/1902. A railway between Bulawayo and Salisbury was completed. It ran a total of 2000 miles down to Cape Town.

11/1897, The railway reached Bulowayo, from the south.

1891, Britain signed a treaty with Portugal for a railway to be constructed from Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to Beira in Mizambique, as that was a nearer port than Cape Town; in return Portugal would receive a duty of not exceediong 3% of value of goods transported.


1/5/1899, The railway reached Beira, from Zimbabwe.

South Africa

22/6/1904, The Cape to Cairo railway opened.

8/7/1895. The opening of the Delagoa Bay railway, from Johannesburg to Maputo Bay, gave the Transvaal access to the sea independent of the British colonies.

1894, The railway reached Mafeking.

1892, The Cape Town to Johannesburg railway was completed.

1863, The Cape Town to Wellington railway opened. From Wellington the railway reached Worcesetr in 1876, Beaufort West in 1880 and De Aar in 1884. The railway from Port Elizabeth to De Aar also opened in 1884. Kimberley was reached in 1885.

13/2/1862, In South Africa, the Cape Town to Erste River railway opened.

26/6/1860, The first railway in South Africa opened; Durban to Point (Natal).


North American railways (US, Canada)


1956, The railway from Terrace to Kitimat opened.

9/3/1919, The Canadian Grand Trunk Pacific Railway went bankrupt. It was nationalised in 1920.

25/1/1915. In Canada, the Northern Railway from Lake Superior to the Pacific Coast was completed.

23/5/1887, The Canadian Pacific Railway reached Vancouver.

28/6/1886, The first through train for the Pacific left Montreal.

7/11/1885, The last spikes were driven in at Craigellachie in British Columbia, completing the Canadian Pacific Railway after 4 ½ years work. The Government of British Columbia had stipulated that they would only join the Canadian federation, rather than the USA, if they were connected by railway to the rest of Canada by 1891. Trains running from Montreal to Port Moody, capital of British Columbia from 1886, took 5 to 6 days.

1881, The Canada Pacific Railway Company was founded.

21/7/1836, The Champlain & St Lawrence Railroad, the first steam railway in Canada, opened between Laprarie and St John.


1993, The Los Angeles subway opened.

27/3/1976, The first 4.6 miles of the Washington DC subway system opened.

1/5/1971, Amtrak, the US rail operator, began operations.

1949, General Motors and other auto companies were found guilty, in a trial that had begun in 1947, on Federal antitrust charges. They had, from the late 1920s, secretly purchased many of America’s tram and light rail systems so as to close them down, to boost the car market. However the Judge in the case, William J Campbell, imposed only a nominal pena;lty, a fine of US$ 5,000 on GM and the other companies, and a fine of US$ 1 on each of the dirctors.

28/2/1936, The Interstate Commerce Commission ordered a reduction in basic rail passenger fares from 3.6 to 2 cents per mile everywhere in the United States.

18/12/1935, The Huey P Long Bridge in Mentaine, Louisiana, opened.  It was the world’s longest railway bridge.

27/12/1917, The US Government took over the American railways.

12/3/1914, George Westinghouse, American engineer who patented the Westinghouse Railway Brake in 1868, died in New York City.

2/2/1913. Grand Central Station in New York, the world’s largest railway station, opened.

1906, The Hepburn Act allowed the US Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railway services.

27/10/1904. The first section of the New York subway opened. Trains ran from City Hall to Broadway and 145th Street.

1903, In the US, the Elkins Act forbade rail companies to give preferential carriage rates to favoured customers, and forced them to issue public notices of rates.

1901, Henry R Huntington incorporated the Pacific Railway Company, and began construction ofinter-urban lines around Los Angeles. By 1913 the network reached 42 cities, provoking a building boom.

1898, The settlement of Alamogordo, New Mexico, was founded when the El Paso and North Eastern Railway reached this location.

1897, The Boston Metro opened, the forst subway in the USA.

19/10/1897, George Pullman, US manufacturer of railway sleeping and dining cars that bear his name, died in Chicago, Illnois, aged 66.

1895, The Chicago overhead electric railway, 29km, opened.

18/9/1893. In the USA, the Great Northern Pacific Railway opened. This was the most northerly of the USA’s rail routes between the Mississippi River and the Pacific.

10/8/1885, The first electric street car railway in the US was opened in Baltimore by Leo Daft.

1878, A ‘railway war’ resulted when two railway companies, the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe, and the Denver and Rio Grande, both attempted to run tracks along the Arkansas River canyon, Colorado State. The canyon was only wide enough for one set of tracks. Duri8ng the day each company laid tracks, and at night they sabotaged each other’s work, throwing tools in the river and dynamiting the track works. The dispute took two years to settle, in favour of the latter railway company.

1876, The first railway reached Los Angeles (Southern Pacific Railroad). The Santa Fe Railroad reached Los Angeles in 1885. For a time the rail fare westwards from Chicago was just 1US$, although considerably more going east. This pricing strategy was adopted to encourage more settlers to move west, so railway income from fruit harvested around Los Angeles would increase.

6/9/1876, San Francisco and Los Angeles were now lined by rail.

4/7/1874, The railway east from St Louis, USA, opened, crossing the Mississippi by the Eads Bridge.

1/8/1873, The first street cable cars in the world were installed in San Francisco, on Clay Street Hill; the steep terrain made horse buses impractical. They were the invention of engineer Andrew Smith Hallidie, 37.

19/12/1871,  The city of Birmingham, Alabama, was incorporated. In 1870 the site of Birmingham was a cotton field crossed by two railways. Birmingham was founded by a land company backed by the railways.

24/7/1870. The first transcontinental train arrived in New York from San Francisco.

26/2/1870, The first underground railway in the USA opened, in New York.

10/5/1869. The first railroad across the USA from east to west, 1,776 miles long, was completed after three years work at a ceremony west of Ogden, in Utah. The Union Pacific Line finally met with the Central Pacific Line. Both companies raced to lay as much track as possible as they converged, spurred on by government payments of US$16,000 per mile, more for mountainous areas. A golden spike was driven in at Promontory Point, Utah, where the railways met. Travel time between New York and San Francisco was slashed from 3 months to 8 days.

1865, The first train hold-up, at North Bend, Ohio.

1859, The Pullman carriages on the Chicago and Alton railroad were first equipped with toilets.

1856, The Illinois Central Railroad was completed between Chicago and Cairo, Illinois.

1854, The B&O railway between Baltimore and Wheeling opened.

1851, The railway reached Cleveland, Ohio,

6/10/1846, George Westinghouse, US engineer and inventor of the railway air brake, was born in Central bridge, New York State.

1841, The Boston to Albany railway opened.

18/4/1836, The Long Island Railroad, USA, began operations.

24/8/1835, Passenger rail services began into Washington DC, USA.

9/11/1833, The first passenger train accident in the US. 12 of the 24 passengers on the Camden and Amboy line between Spotswood and Hightstown, New Jersey, were seriously injured.

6/6/1833, The Baltimore to Ohio railroad became the first railway to carry a US President, Andrew Jackson.

30/6/1831, The Baltimore to Ohio railroad became the first railway in the US to carry troops.

3/3/1831, George Pullman, who developed the Pullman Railway Carriage, was born in Brocton, New York State.

15/1/1831, The South Carolina Railroad opened in the US. It was the first in the US with a regular passenger service.

25/12/1830, The first steam-powered regular train service in America began, running from Charleston on the South Carolina Railroad.

14/12/1830, The first practical rail locomotive capable of running a regular passenger service began operations on the South Carolina Railroad. Full passenger services began on 25/12/1830.

25/8/1830, A lighter steam locomotive began operating on US rails; and was capable of 13 mph.

24/5/1830, The first passenger railway in America opened, from Baltimore to Ohio, 22 km.

9/10/1829, In the US the Carbondale to Honesdale railway was opened by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. However the steam locomotives were too heavy for the track, which was initially worked as a gravity line.

7/8/1829, The first steam railway engine ran in the USA. It operated on the Delaware and Hudson Bay railways, but was too heavy for the rails so was impractical.

4/7/1828, Construction began on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

7/10/1826, The first railway in the USA opened, at Quincy, Massachusetts.

25/8/1819,  Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton detective agency, which specialised in railway theft, was born.


Central & South American railways (inc. Mexico)


The Buenos Aires Subway (Subte) opened, the first subway system in South America.


1931, A 22.5km line opened from Somerset to St Georges via Hamilton. It closed in 1947.


19/11/1837, The first railway in Cuba opened. It ran from Havana to Bejucal.


21/11/1845, The first railway in Jamaica opened. It ran 20 km between Kingston and Spanish Town.


1970, The Mexico City metro system opened.

El Salvador

19/3/1900, The railway from San Salvador to Santa Anna and the port of Acajutala opened.


1903, The railway reached Managua.


28/1/1855. The 47-mile Panama Railway, linking the Atlantic and Pacific across the Isthmus of Panama, opened.


1961, The railway from Bogota to the Atlantic port of Santa Marta opened.

1855, The first railway in Colomnia opened.


1883, Railway from Caracas to the port of La Guaira, 38 km, opened.


1900, The railway reached Rosignol.

3/11/1848, The first railway in Guyana opened. It ran from Georgetown to Mahiba.


1908, The railway from Guayaquil, on the Pacific,  to Quito opened.


17/5/1851, The first railway in Peru opened. It ran 15 km from the port of Callao to Lima.


1913, The Arica to La Paz railway opened.

1908, The railway reached La Paz.

1873, The first railway on Bolivia opened, from Antofagusta (now part of Chile) to the nitrate mines.


30/4/1854, The first railway in Brazil opened.


1863, The Santiago to Valparaiso railway opened.

1852, The first railway in Chile opened. It served the port of La Caldera.


1861, The railway reached Asuncion.


20/2/1948, The 863 kilometre railway from Salta, Argentina, to Antofagasta, Chile, was completed.

1913, The first urben metro system on South America opened, in Buenos Aires.

1911, A Trans-Andean railway from Argentina to Chile was completed.

14/12/1865, The Buenos Aires to Chascomus railway, 70 miles, opened.

30/8/1857, The first railway in Argentina opened, Parque to Floresta.


Antarctican and extra-terrestrial railways

OK we don’t have any railways on the Moon, and we haven’t seen any evidence of any on Mars, or beyond, yet. But there are a few in the Antarctic Region, see this site ((may be a problem occasionally with the wrong sort of snow on the lines)



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