Chronography of railways outside Great Britain

Page last modified 24 September 2023


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International urban transit maps,


For map of historical development of selected canals and railways, Netherlands, click here


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.


US rail map,

World rail map, current and disused rails etc,

World metro maps, detailed plans of stations,


European railways


11 January 1985, The Shkoder(Albania) - Podgorica freight line opened.

1949, The railway reached the capital, Tirana.

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


27 June 1986, The Eisenertz to Vordenberg railway closed. It was built to carry iron ore from Eisenertz, but foreign ore undercut the mine here.

1 August 1966, The Minitz to St Erhard line closed.

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

8 May 1892, Gabor Baross, who developed the Austro-Hungarian railway system, died in Hungary (born in Trencsen 6 July 1848).

24 August 1867, The Brenner Pass railway, from Italy to Innsbruck, Austria, opened.

1860, The line from Vienna to Belgrade opened.

15 May 1854, The Semmering Pass railway, Austria, opened.

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

1852, The line from Vienna to Salzburg opened.

6 July 1848, Gabor Baross, who developed the Austro-Hungarian railway system, was born in Trencsen (died in Hungary 8 May 1892).

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

7 September 1827, The first railway in Austro-Hungary opened. This was from Budweis (now Czechia) to Trojanov, later extended to Linz, using horse traction.


18 September 1957, The railway between Amsterdam and Brussels was electrified.

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 May 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.


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.

1873, The line from Sarambey to Philippopolis, and onwards to the Turkish frontier, was built.

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


1919, Czeckoslovak Statre Railways was established; re-established in 5/1945.

Denmark, see Map of Danish railways

1937, The Storstrom railway bridge was completed.

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

26 June 1847, The first railway in Denmark opened; Copenhagen to Roskilde, 31 km. The Altona to Kiel railway, opened 1844, was in Danish territory when built but from 1864 has been in German territory.

Finland, see Map of Finnish railways

France see Map of French railways

15December 2012, The 14�3 km extension of orbital tram route T3 following the Boulevards des Mar�chaux 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.

3 April 2007, A French TGV train set a new speed record of 356 mph / 573 kph.

27 May 2001, A French train travelled from Calais to Marseilles, 1,082 km, in a record 3 hours 29 minutes, reaching 369 kph.

18 May 1990. A French TGV attained a record speed of 515.3 kph.

22 September 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 515.3 kph on 18 May 1990. It ran between Paris and Lyons, and its route was extended to Marseilles in 1983.

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

25 September 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.

1946, Louis Armand became President of the SNCF. He undertook a programme of rationalisation, closing down some 10,000 kilometres of uneconomic lines.

1937, The Paris to Le Mans line was electrified.

31 August 1937, In France, the SNCF (Societe National des Chemins de fer Francais) was formed. It took over operation of the French railways on 1 January 1938.

12 October 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.

6 June 1906, Paris Metro Line 5 was inaugurated with a first section from Place d'Italie to the Gare d'Orleans (today known as Gare d'Austerlitz).

1900, Electrification of the Paris-Orleans line began.

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

1890, France standardised time, to Paris time, on its railways; previously they had all been set to local time, as had Britain�s railways until 1880 � see railways, social, 24 October 1858. French stations had also kept their clocks 5 minutes slow, to provide a margin for late-running travellers.

1 June 1889, The Orient Express made its first through run from Paris to Constantinople.

6 October 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.

1 June 1883, The first regular restaurant car service on French railways began, on the Paris-Caen and Paris-Trouville routes.

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.

March 1847, The Paris and Rouen railway (completed 1843) was extended to Le Havre.

11 June 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 privateoperators. A key element of the plan was the Legrand Star; all main line railways radiated out from Paris. This proved to be a handicap in the Franco-Prussian War. German troops could reach the front by multiple routes, whereas all French soldiers had to travel on one line, Paris to Strasbourg. Worse, recruits from south and west France all had to be funnelled through Paris, causing major congestion.

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

26 August 1837, The Paris to St Germain railway opened.

9 July 1835. The St Etienne to Lyons railway opened to passengers.

3 April 1832, Lyons to Givors railway opened.

1830, The Mulhouse-Tann railway opened.

25 June 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 August 1844.

1 October 1828, The horse-drawn St Etienne to Andrezieux railway opened; the first public railway in France. It was extended to Roanne in 1833, and was converted to steam on 1 August 1844.

1779, The first railway in France was built by Englishman William Wilkinson (1744-1808). It served an ordnance factory at Indret and ran to the River Loire. It was used until around 1800.


15 May 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.

5 October 1903, In Berlin, a Siemens electric train reached 125 mph.

15 February 1902. The Berlin underground railway opened.

1900, The monorail at Wuppertal opened, 14 km long.

1882, Berlin�s stadtbahn railway m(city railway), 12 km of elevated tracks through Berlin, was opened. One of its functions was to facilitate troop movements between east and west Prussia.

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

17 November 1866, The railway from Oldenburg to Delmenhorst opened; in July 1867 was extended to Bremen followed, and in September 1866 the section from Oldenburg to Heppens was completed.

1846, The Berlin to Brandenburg railway opened.

1843, The Heidelberg to Karlsruhe railway opened.

19 September 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. In its first year of operation it carries 412,000 people. Some female passengers were wary of unwanted attentions from the men whilst the train ran through the dark tunnels.

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

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


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


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

1896, the Salonika to Constantino[le railway opened; a branch to Burgas, on the Black Sea, opened in 1898.

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.


12 August 1888, The railway from Budapest to Constantinople opened.

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

8/1827, A horse drawn railway from Pest to Kobanya opened.

Icelandsee Iceland

Ireland (N & S)

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

1959, The railways from Monaghan closed.

10 July 1949, The last tramcar ran in Dublin.

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

1903, The Letterkenny to Burtonport railway opened.

12 September 1893, The Killorglin to Valentia Harbour line opened.

16 May 1893, In Dublin, electric trams started running

31 March 1891, The Tralee and Dingle railway opened.

1887, The narrow gauge West Clare railway (3ft 0) opened beteween Ennis, Kilrush and Kilkee. It closed in 1967.

1887, The Tralee to Fenit railway opened; closed in 1972.

1887, The Cavan and Leitrim railway opened; closed in 1959.

1883, The Londonderry to Burtonport railway opened.

1872, Dublin�s first non-horse tram lines began running. The system grew to 37 miles, reaching out into the south Dublin suburbs, see 10 July 1949.

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

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

1859, The railway reached Tralee.

12 April 1854, Atmospheric traction on the Dalkey extension of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway was abandoned.

5 September 1853, The Waterford to Tramore railway opened.

1 October 1852, The Londonderry to Newtown Limavady railway, 18 � miles, opened.

13 September 1852, The Newton Stewart to Omagh railway, 9 � miles, opened.

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

3 May 1852, The Tipperary to Clonmel railway, 24 � miles, opened.

9 February 1852, The Strabane to Newton Stewart railway, 9 � miles, opened.

6 January 1852, The railway from Portadown to Mullaglass, 16 � miles, opened.

8December 1851, The railway from Cork to Bailinhassig, 10 miles, fully opened (Bandon to Bailinhassig had opened 1 August 1849).

1 August 1851, The Dublin to Galway railway, 76 � miles, opened.

14 November 1850, In Kilkenny, Ireland, the Bagenalstown to Laristown Junction railway, 10 � miles, opened.

6 May 1850, The railway from Belfast to Newtonards, 13 � miles, opened.

14 February 1850, The railway from Drogheda to Navan, 17 miles, opened.

1 November 1849, The Mallow to Cork railway, 19 � miles, opened.

1 August 1849, The Bandon to Ballinhassig railway, Cork, (10 miles), opened.

28 May 1849, The railway from Newry to Warrenpoint, 5 � miles, opened.

17 March 1849. The railway from Limerick Junction to Mallow opened.

15 February 1849, The Dundalk to Drogheda (22 miles) and the Dundalk to Castle Blayney (18 miles) opened.

2 August 1848, The railway from Belfast to Holywood opened.

24 July 1848, The Carlow to Bagenalstown railway, 10 miles, opened.

3 July 1848, The Thurles to Limerick Junction railway, 20 � miles, opened.

11 May 1848, The Kilkenny to Thomastown railway, 10 � miles, opened.

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

9 May 1848, The Limerick to Tipperary railway, 24 � miles, opened.

1 March 1848, The Portadown to Armagh railway, 10 � miles, opened.

19 April 1847, The railway from Londonderry to Strabane, 14 � miles, opened.

4 August 1846, The Dublin to Carlow railway, 56 � miles, opened.

26 May 1844, The Dublin to Drogheda railway opened.

29 April 1844, The Dalkey extension of the Dublin and Kingstown railway officially opened, using atmospheric traction. The system was abandoned on 12 April 1854.

1842. The Belfast to Portadown railway opened.

12 August 1839, The railway from Belfast to Lisburn opened; extended to Armagh, 1 March 1848.

1836, The Belfast to Armagh railway opened.

1836, The Dublin to Drogheda railway opened.

17December 1834, The first railway in Ireland opened, from Dublin to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), 6 miles. The engineer was William Dargan, now known as the �Father of Irish Railways�.


1964, The Milan metro openedCanada

1934, The Apennine Tunnel (Florence to Bologna line), 18.5 km, was completed.

20 August 1925. Rome�s underground railway opened.

5 July 1910, The St Moritz to Tirano railway, Italy, opened.

24 August 1867, The Brenner Pass railway, from Italy to Innsbruck, Austria, 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 October 1839, The first railway opened in Italy: Naples to Portici. 8km.


1872, The railway through Vaduz opened.


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.


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

Montenegro � see Yugoslavia


For map of historical development of selected canals and railways, Netherlands, click here

18 September 1957, The railway between Amsterdam and Brussels was electrified.

1927, The railway from Rotterdam to Amsterdam was electrified.

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

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

1910, Differences in gauge between various Dutch railways hindered goods traffic.

1904, The electrified railway, Amsterdam to Zandvoort, opened.

1902, The Zutphen to Emmerich tramway opened.

1902, The Enschede to Ahaus (Germany) railway opened.

1900, The Breda to Steenbergen, St Philipsland, Zierikzee and Brouwershaven tramway opened.

1898, The Rotterdam to Numansdorp (Hollandsch Diep) tramway opened.

1898, The Purmerend to Alkmaar tramway opened.

1898, The Alkmaar to Hoorn railway opened.

1893, The railway from Hook of Holland to Rotterdam opened.

1892, The Netherlands railway system was largely complete, apart from minor local lines opened since then.

1892, The Netherlands railway system adopted Greenwich Mean Time, which was 20 minutes behind Amsterdam time.

1890, The Rozendaal to S�Hertogenbosh railway opened.

1885, The railway from Dordrecht to Elst opened (construction began 1882)

1885, The railway from Stavoren to Leeuwarden opened.

1885, The Zaandam to Enkhuizen railway opened.

1883, The Nijmegen to Venlo railway opened.

1879, The Nijmegen to Arnhem railway opened.

1878, The Amsterdan to Zaandam railway opened.

1878, The Apeldoorn to Zutphen to Ruurlo to Winterswyck railway opened.

1877, Construction of local steam tramsways, often alongside roads, began in The Netherlands, suppelementing the main railway network. State subsidies to encourage construction of these tramways was available from 1893.

1877, The Rotterdam to Zwaluwe railway opened (construction began 1869).

1877, The Rotterdam to Dordrecht railway opened (construction began 1872).

1875, The Amsterdam to Hilversum to Amersfoort to Apeldoorn railway opened.

1873, The railway from Bokstel to Goch (Germany) via Vechel opened.

1872, The Flushing to Rozendaal railway opened.

1869, The railway from Groningen to Nieuwe Schans (German border) opened. From here a conncetion was made to the German railway system in 1876.

1869, The Rotterdam to Utrecht railway opened (constructin began 1866).

1869, The Utrecht to S�Hertogenbosch railway opened (construction began 1868).

1867, The railway from den Helder to Haarlem opened (construction began 1862).

1867, The railway from S�Hertogenbosh via Tilburg to Turmhout (Belgium) opened.

1866, The Hengelo to Enschede railway opened.

1866, The Leeuwarden to Groningen railway opened.

1866, The S�Hertogenbosch via Eindhoven to Hasselt railway opened.

1866, The Groningen to Zwolle railway opened.

1865, The Zwolle to Arnhem railway opened.

1865, The Nijmwegen to Cleves (Germany) railway opened.

1865, The Venlo to Maastricht railway opened.

1865, The Apeldoorn to Zutphen and Hengelo railway opened.

1865, The Apeldoorn to Deventer to Almelo to Hengelo to Salzbergen (Germany) opened.

1863, The Harlingen to Leeuwarden railway opened.

1863, The railway from Utrecht via Amersfoort and Zwoole to Kampen opened.

1863, The Tilburg to Bokstel railway opened.

1860, In view of the slow progress of railway construction in The Netherlands (see 1845), a Government programme of construction was inaugurated. By 1872 an additional 873 km of railways had been built.

1860, The Rozendaal to Tilburg railway opened.

1856, The Arnhem to Emmerich (Germany) railway opened.

1855, The railway from Zwaluwe to Antwerp opened (construction began 1852).

1847, The Haarlem to Rotterdam railway opened (construction began 1839).

1845, The Amsterdamto Utrecht to Arnhem railway opened.

1845, The Dutch State undertook to develop a comprehensive railway system. Progress was slow, however,and by 1860 The Netherlands only had 335 km of railways.

24 September 1839, The first passenger railway opened in The Netherlands.It was operated by the Holland Railway Company (Hollandsch Yzeren Spoorweg Maatschappij), and ran from Amsterdam to Haarlem, 19 km.

Norway see map of Swedish railways with historical changes


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.

Portugalsee map of railways here


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

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


9/1989, The Baikal-Amur mainline (BAM) railway opened. It was intended to assist in exploiting Siberian mineral deposits.

7 November 1984, The Tynda to Urgal railway, Russia, opened.

5/1982, The Kunerma to Krasnoyarsk railway, Russia, opened.

2 July 1979, The Komsomolsk to Urgal railway, Russia, opened.

9 July 1935. Engineers building the Moscow Underground discovered Ivan the Terrible�s torture chamber.

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

March 1931, Plans for building the Moscow Metro were approved. The first proposals for a metro dated back to 1900 but in these Czarist times, there were strong objections from the Church about undermining historic buildings. The first line opened ran Sw from Sokolniki through the city centre and 5then forked to go to Smolensia Rinok and to Krinskaia Place.

1905, The Orenburg to Tashkent railway opened.

1 January 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 July 1904. The Trans Siberian Railway was finally completed. The 4,607 miles of track took 13 years to lay.

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

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

30 November 1897, The Vologda to Archangel railway opened.

1891, Construction began on the Trans-Siberian railway, Moscow to Vladivostock. See 21 July 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 November 1851, The railway between Moscow and St Petersburg opened, 3km; extended to Pavlovsk, 1838.

19 June 1840, John Cockerill, Russian railway constructor, died.

30 October 1837, The railway from St Petersburg to the Czar�s Summer Palace at Tsarskoe Selo opened.

9 October 1836, The first public railway in Russia opened, the Petersburg and Pavlovsk Railway. It was originally horsedrawn, on a 6ft guage, until steam began in 1837.

Serbia / Yugoslavia

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

1905, Construction began on the railway from Antivari (Adriatic coast) to Virbazar (Lake Scutari).

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

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


6 September 1873, The railway to Fiume / Rijeka opened from Karlstadt / Karlovac; a branch from the Vienna-Trieste line.

1865, The Zagreb to Karlovac line opened.


1992, The Madrid to Seville high speed line opened.

1939, The Spanish broad gauge network was nationalised.

October 1919, The first section of the Madrid Metro was officially opened by King Alphonso XIII. It ran from Puerta del Sol to Cuatro Caminos (ca 4 km)

1908, The branch line to Velez Malaga opened.

1906, The Spanish Government ratified the 1904 Railway Convention with France, whereby a line was to be constructed from Oloron via Canfranc to Jaca, Saragossa and Pau.

1875, First railway in Majorca.

1870, First railway to Cordoba.

1863, The first railway in Bilbao (to Tudela) opened.

1850, First railway in Madrid.

28 October 1848, The first railway in Spain opened; Barcelona to Mataro, 27km. Spain delayed installing railways partly due to fear on another invasion by Framce. It then used a sloightly wider guage than the rest of Europe.


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.

Sweden, see map of Swedish railways with historical changes

1950, The Stockholm Metro began operations.


1999, The Vereina Tunnel (Lavin to Klosters line), 19.2 km, was completed.

1982, The bFurka Base Tunnel (Oberwald to Realp line), 15.5 km, was completed

1922, The Simplon No.2 tunnel (Brig to Iselle line), 20.0 km, was completed.

1910, The Swiss railways were nationalised.

1906, The Simplon No.1 tunnel (Brig to Iselle line), 19.8 km, was completed/

1903, The railway from Coire via the Rhine Valley, Reichenau, Thusis, Schyn Gorge, Tiefenkastell, to Bevers, opened.

1 July 1882, The Gotthard Tunnel (Goschenen to Airolo line), 15.0 km, was completed. At 9 miles 562 yards it was then the longest railway tunnel in the world.

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

15 June 1844. The first railway in Switzerland opened, Basle to St Ludwig (now Saint Louis, France).

Asian railways


China (inc. Hong Kong).

18 August 2020, Line 6 of the Shenzhen Metro opened.

28 June 2016, Line 11 of the Shenzhen Metro opened.

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

8December 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 Wushaoling Tunnel (Dacaigou to Longgou line), 20.8 km, was completed/

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

2002, The Qinling Tunnel, Qinling Mountains, 18.4 km, was completed.

18 August 1988, In Hong Kong, the Light Rail Transit line between Tuen Mun and Yuen Long, 23 km, opened.

1 October 1979, The first section of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway, from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon, opened.

4 April 1979, Through services from Canton to Kowloon (Hong Kong) were restored (withdrawn 14 October 1949).

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

1 July 1952, In China, the Chungking to Chengdu railway opened (construction began 1951)

14 October 1949, Through train services from Kowloon (Hong Kong) to Canton were withdrawn, but restored on 4.4.1979.

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.

5 August 1911, The entire Kowloon to Canton railway opened.

1 October 1910, The line from the tip of Kowloon, Hong Kong, to the Sino-British border opened, see 5 August 1911.

1909, The railway from Shanghai to Nanking opened.

1908, China nationalised its railways.

1888, Hong Kong�s funicular Peak Tram line opened.

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

1880, The first permanent railway in China opened, The 8 km narrow guage line ran from the Kaiping coalfield, nbear Tangshan, and connected it with a canal that went on to the Pehtang River. Because of Chinese prejudices against steam locomotives, the line was worked by mule traction. The company engineer, CW Kinder, then secretly built a steam locomotive using parts recovered from scrap, but the Chinese authorities heard about this and sent a party to investigate; Kinder, warned of this, then dug a large hole and buried his engine. The line was was extended to Lutai in 1886 and Tientsin in 1888.

1876, First railway in China opened. It ran for 32 km, Shanghai to Woosung. However the Chinese were suspicious of the new technology. Some Chinese feared that the �devil machines� would desecrate ancestral graves, and even threw themselves in front of the locomotive. After some 20 Chinese had been killed this way, the line was closed and dismantled in 10/1877.


October 1984, Kolkata became the first city in India to get a metro system. It then had 5 stations and 3.4 km of track, By 2023 it had 26 stations on 31 km of track.

29 September 1917, McLeod's Light Railways opened a line between Ahmedpur and Katwa in West Bengal, India.

1915, The Teesta Valley Railway to Kalimpong, 45 km, opened.

November 1899, The light railways from Gwalior to Sipri, and Gwalior to Bhind, opened.

1899, The Goona to Baran railway, Gwalior, opened.������������

1856, The Bombay-Calcutta-Madras-Nagpur railway was completed.

14 February 1873, The railway from Delhi to Rewari, India, 84km, opened.

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

18 April 1853, The first railway in India opened; Mumbai to Thana, 40 km. By 1856 rail lines linked Mumbai, Kolkata, Madras and Nagpur.


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


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


17 July 1940, The Baghdad Railway was completed.

1898, 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.

19 October 1898, Baghdad Railways concession was granted to Deutche Bank again.


31 August 1908, The Haifa to Derraa railway opened. It closed in 1949.

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


2008, The Sanko Line 108 km, closed (open 1930).

2002, The Iwate-Ichinohw Tunnel (Morioka to Aomori line), 25.5 km, was completed.

1988, The Seikan Tunnel (Hokkaido to Honshu line), 53.5 km, was completed..

1 April 1987, Japan privatised its railways, to seven companies.

1982, The Haruna Tunnel (Jomo-Kogen-Echigo line), 15.3 km, was completed.

1980, The Daishimizu Tunnel (Jomo-Kogen-Echigo line), 22.4 km, was completed.

1975, The Shin Kanmon Tunnel (Honshu to Kyushu line), 18.7 km, was completed.

1972, The Rokko Tunnel (Osaka to Shinkobe line), 16.3 km, was completed.

1 October 1964, The Shinkansen �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.

28 April 1915, The Geibi Railway opened the Geibi Line in the Okayama Prefecture, Japan, with stations Shiwachi, Kamikawatachi, Kōtachi, Yoshidaguchi, Mukaihara, Ibaraichi, Shiwaguchi, Nakamita, Karuga, Shimofukawa, Kumura, and Akiyaguchi serving the line.

15December 1914, The Iwate Light Railway opened new stations in the Iwate Prefecture, Japan, including Ayaori, Iwanebashi, and Futsukamachi.

25 October 1913, The Iwate Light Railway was extended in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, serving stations Nitanai, Oyamada, and Tsuchizawa.

16 March 1906 Japanese railways were nationalised.

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

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


1906, Construction work began on a branch line from Aqaba to the Mecca-Beirut railway.

Korea (North and South)

First railway opened 1899.


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

Myanmar (Burma)

1903, The railway from Hernzada to Letpadan opened.

1902, The railway from Henzada to Bassein opened.

1900, The railway from Saigang to Alon via Monywa, and the railway from Meiktila to Myingyan, opened.

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

1884, The railway from Yangon (Rangoon) to Toungoo opened.

1 May 1877, The first railway in Myanmar opened, Yangon to Prome, 257 km.


13 May 1861. The first railway in what is now (2016) Pakistan opened, from Karachi City to Kochi, 169 km.


20 October 1902, The Philippines Government approved a bid to build an electric streetcar system in Manila.

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

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 September 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.

Sri Lanka

2 October 1865, The first railway in Sri Lanka opened, from Colombo to Ambepussa, 93 km. Construction had begun in 1858.


3 November 1900, In Taiwan, the Takau to Tainan railway, 43 km, opened.

1887, First railway condstruction started.


1939, The railway reached Elazig. From here it was extended to Genc in 1954 and to Mus in 1955.

1935, The railway reached Kayseri (378 km east of Ankara).

1887, The Tersus, Adana and Mersina railway opened.

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.


1905, Samarkand was connected by rail with Tashkent.

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


1986, A new line from Hanoi to Da Nang opened.

1/1910, The railway from Hanoi to Yunnan-Fu opened.

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

Australasian railways


9 October 1980, A new line was opened from Tarcoola, Australia, to Alice Springs; the old route closed on 1 January 1981.

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

2 August 1929, The first Trans-Australian Railway, N-S, was completed,

20December 1926, The first underground railway in Australia opened, in Sydney.

29 October 1917, The Merriwa railway line in New South Wales, Australia was completed.

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

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

28December 1914, South Australian Railways opened the Peebinga railway line from Karoonda to Peebinga, South Australia, Australia.

1912, Construction of the Trans-Australia railway began.

10/1889, The first railway in the Northern Territory opened. This ran 233km from Darwin to Pine Crek. It was extended as far south as Larrimah, near Birdum, by 1929.

1883, The Sydney, New South Wales, to Melbourne, Victoria, railway was completed.

14 June 1883, The railway bridge over the River Murray opened, uniting the rail systems of New South Wales and Victoria.

1881, The railway from Perth to Freemantle, 33 km, Western Australia, opened.

1879, The railway from Geraldton to Northampton, 55 km, Western Australia, opened.

6 June 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 kmbetween Launceston and Deloraine.

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

21 April 1856, The Adelaide to Port Adelaide railway, Australia, opened.

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

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

18 May 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.

1827, An inclined tramway of iron rails was opened to carry coal from a mine at Newcastle to Port Hunter.

New Zealand

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

1945, The Christchurch to Picton railway opened.

1891, The Wellington to Napier railway opened.

1886, The Wellington toNew Plymouth railway opened.

1879, The Christchurch to Bluff railway opened.

24December 1873, The railway from Auckland, North Island, New Zealand, to Onehunga opened.

9December 1867, The line to Lyttleton, from Christchurch, was opened, and the short section to Ferrymead was abandoned.

5 February 1867, The Invercargill to Bluff railway, New Zealand, opened.

1864, A railway, 18km was opened from Westport to the coal mines. Westport to Fairdown via Sergeants Hill opened 31December 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.

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

3 February 1862, The first railway in New Zealand opened, the horse operated Dun Mountain railway. It ran 22 km from a chrome mine to Nelson in South Island. It closed in 1866.

African railways


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

15 August 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.


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

1905, The railway reached Abomey, and onwards to Pauignan.

1902, The railway from Kotonu to Toffu opened, 89 km.

Congo (Republic of),

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


1987, The Cairo metro opened; the first subway system in Africa. It was built by the French.

1904, The broad gauge line from Cairo to Port Said opened. A railway was begun running west from Alexandria, to reach Tripoli, and eventually Tangier.

1858, The Alexandria to Suez railway opened.

January 1856, The first railway in Africa opened, 208 km, from Alexandria to Cairo.

Eswatini (formerly Sawziland)

10/1964, The line from Ka Dake to Goba, Mpozambique, 200km, opened (construction began 5/1962). Built to take iron oire to the port of Lourenco Marques, and then on to Japan, saldo ulso used for agricultiral exports


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


26December 1901, The Uganda Railway was completed, linking Mombasa with Lake Victoria. This railway both facilitated British colonisation of Uganda and (by superseding the carriage of goods by humans) did much to eliminate the local slave trade.


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

28 November 1933, The Moroccan � Tunisian railway opened, connecting up the French north African colonial possessions.


1879, France proposed a railway from the Niger across the Sahara to the Mediterranean. France allocated 800,000 Francs (�32,000) for an initial survey of the route, but the scheme was abandoned when Tuareg nomads massacred the survey team. In 1880 the French also proposed a railway from Niger to Senegal, but funding for this line, also the forts needed to protect it, was not forthcoming.


1912, Railway to Kano opened.

1908, The railway from Lagos reached Ilorin (Ibadan to Ilorin, construction began 1905).

1901, The railway reached Ibadan (construction began 1896).

1899, The railway from Lagos to Abeokuta, 103 km, opened.


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

1907, Construction of a line from Thies to Kayes began.

Sierra Leone,

1976, The Sierra Leone railway system closed.

1905, The railway reached Pendembu.

1903, The railway reached Bo.

1896, Constructiuon began on the railway from Freetown to the Liberian border. It was completed in 1905.

South Africa

5 March 1917, The 63 km railway from Izingolweni to Harding, South Africa was completed.

22 June 1904, The Cape to Cairo railway opened.

10 October 1895, The Cape Town to Durban railway, South Africa, opened.

8 July 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.

1886, The Durban to Ladysmith railway opened; subsequently extended from Ladysmith to Johannesburg.

1863, The Cape Town to Wellington railway opened. From Wellington the railway reached Worcester 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 February 1862, In South Africa, the Cape Town to Erste River railway opened.

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

North American railways (US, Canada)


1989, The Mt MacDonald Tunnel (Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia line), 14.7 km, was completed.

1956, The railway from Terrace to Kitimat opened.

1956, The railway from Squamish to Vancouver, 61 km, opened.

March 1954, The Toronto Metro opened.

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

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

3 June 1908, Sir Robert Gillespie Reid, Canadian railway contractor, died.

1906, The Canadian Northern railway from Winnipeg to Edmonton was completed.

1900, The railway from Skagway to White Horse opened, 177 km.

1899, The railway from Hearst to Sault Sainte Marie, 476 km, opened.

29 June 1898, Passenger services began on the first railway in Newfoundland, from St Johns to Hall Bay, Construction of the line had begun on 9 August 1881, against considerable local opposition and violence. The line was completed in 1896.

23 May 1887, The Canadian Pacific Railway reached Vancouver.

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

7 November 1885, The last spikes were driven in at Craigellachie in British Columbia, completing the Canadian Pacific Railway after 4 � 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.

1876, Canada�s Intercolonial Railway was completed, linking Ontario to the Maritime Provinces.

1 July 1876, The railway from Amherst to Riviere du Loup, Canada, opened.

1872, The Halifax-Truro railway was extended to Amherst.

31December 1860, The first railway tunnel in Canada opened; it ran for 540 metres below Brockville, and was abandoned in 1974.

1858, The Halifax to Truro railway opened.

16 August 1851, The railway from Laprarie, Quebec, Canada to Rouses Point, New York, USA, opened.

31 July 1851, Canada legislated to make the 1676 mm gauge, the �Provincial Gauge�, a pre-co0ndition of financial aid to any railway, thereby introducing a standard gauge for the country.

1847, The Montreal and Lachine railway opened.

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

7 January 1827, Sir Sandford Fleming, Canadian engineer who oversaw the construction of much of the Canadian railway system, was born.


US rail map,

June 1996, The Dalla (Texas) light rail system opened, 18 km.

1993, The Los Angeles subway opened.

14 October 1980, In the USA, the Staggers Rail Act was passed. This deregulated the US railways, allowing them to alter charges, close unprofitable routes or merge companies with much less government interference, except in areas where they have �market dominance�. However other forms of transport continued to enjoy more government subsidies.

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

1 May 1971, Amtrak, the US rail operator, began operations. It took over virtually all US rail routes, in a Federally-funded effort to halt the decline in US rail service. However rail services to many US cities now ended.

1970, Penn Central collapsed, It had been the USA�s largest railway company, and the 6th largest US company overall

31 October 1970, In the US, Amtrak, or The National Railroad Passenger Association, was formed, to promote rail travel for passengers.

29 March 1957, 871 km of rail track in the US was closed on one day by the New York western and Ontario Company.

23 May 1952, US railways, having been operated by Federal troops for the previous 21 months, now returned to private ownership.

1950, The Virginia and Truckee Railway, which had gone into administration in 1937, was abandoned.

25 August 1950, To avert a possible US railway strike, President Truman ordered Federal troops to operate the US railway system.

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.

1944, The Leadville to Ibex railway, Colorado, closed.

28 February 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.

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

12 October 1934, The Association of American Railroads was set up. Almost all significant railway companies in the US, Canada and Mexico are members.

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

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

20 May 1913, The Florida East Coast Railway reached Key West, but its constructor, Henry M Flagler, died this day aged 83. 3,000 men had died during the 7 years construction of this line, many of yellow fever, and hurricanes damaged the railway in 1926 and 1935.

2 February 1913. Grand Central Station in New York, the world�s largest railway station, opened, at 42nd Street, replacing an earlier shed. The cutting that carried the tracks down 4th Avenue to 42nd Street was now paved over, creating Park Avenue.

9 September 1909, Edward Harriman, US rail magnate who turned the Union Pacific Railway around from near-bankruptcy in 1898, died (born 25 May 1848).

25 February 1908, The first railway tunnel under Hudson River, New York, opened

1906, The Alsakan Central Railway was authorised, to run 745 km from Seward to Fairbanks. 72 km of this railway was already in operation in 1905.

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


New York suburban

4 January 1962, The first driverless trains appeared on the New York subway.

2 June 1923, The Kaufman Act was signed, authorising the electrification of all railways in New York City by January 1, 1926.

3 March 1917, New York City Subway stations for the White Plains Road Line, including Allerton Avenue, Bronx Park East, Burke Avenue, East 180th Street, Gun Hill Road, Nereid Avenue, Pelham Parkway, 219th Street, 225th Street, and 233rd Street opened.

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

24 March 1900, Construction began on the New York Subway. The elevated railway had been prone to shut down in snowstorms.

1879, New York City�s 3rd Avenue elevated railway reached 129th Street, after reaching 67th Street in 1878.

1878, New York City�s elevated railway along 6th Avenue opened from Rectory Street to Central Park. By 1880 it reached north to 155th Street, causing a conbstruction boom in apartment houses along its route.

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


14 March 1904, In the USA, a Court ruled (Northern Securities case) that proposed mergers of railway interests violated the Anti-Trust Act.

8 March 1904, The Denver and Salt Lake railway opened,between Ogden and Lucin, USA.

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.

1902, The El Paso to Bisbee railway opened.

1899, Boston South station opened; Boston North station had opened in 1894.

1901, Henry R Huntington incorporated the Pacific Railway Company, and began construction of inter-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.

19 October 1897, George Pullman, US manufacturer of railway sleeping and dining cars that bear his name, died in Chicago, Illnois, aged 66. In 1864 he had patented the railway sleeping car with folding upper berth.

1 September 1897. Boston�s underground railway began operating.

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

18 September 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 August 1885, The first electric street car railway in the US was opened in Baltimore by Leo Daft.

8 September 1883, The Northern Pacific Railway was completed, as the last spike was driven at Gold Creek, Montana, after 13 years construction.

1882, The railway from Denver to Gunnison, USA, opened.

17 March 1881, The first through train from Kansas City to California ran.

8 March 1881, The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway linked up with the Southern Pacific Railway in New Mexico.

1880, The first railway reached Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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. During 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.

6 September 1876, The first railway reached Los Angeles (Southern Pacific Railroad), from San Francisco. 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.

1875, Railway tracks from New York�s Central Station were placed in a large cutting that ran along 4th (Park) Avenue;the cutting had taken 3 years to build. By 1915 the cutting was largely covered to create a tunnel.

1874, The Hoosac Tunnel, 9.3 km, in NW Massachusetts, was completed (begun 1855).

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

1 August 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.

19December 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.

15 August 1870, In the US, the Transcontinental Railway was completed in Colorado.

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

1869, A cog railway up Mount Washington, 1,907 metres in |New Hampshire, was completed.

10 May 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.

4 July 1869, The Kansas City to Chicago railway opened.

1867, The first elevated track railway in New York City opened, from Battery Place to 30th Street, above Greenwich Street (9th Avenue). It was much faster than the horse car transport at street level. This ;ine, the Gilbert Line, would later be linked to the 3rd Avenue Railway, running between City Hall and 42nd Street.

1865, The Union Pacific Railway which was begun from Omaha in 1862 now reached Kansas City.

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

2December 1862, Construction began on the Union Pacific Railway at Omaha, Nebraska Territory.

22 February 1862, Construction began on the Central Pacific Railway at Sacramento, California.

1860, The first railway in Texas opened, Harrisburg to Alleyton.

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

14 February 1859, The railway reached St Joseph, Missouri River, USA.

22 April 1856, The first railway bridge to cross the Mississippi River opened between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa. Boat operators on the Mississippi mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge, claiming that the bridge was a nuisance.

1 April 1857, The railway from Charleston to Memphis, USA, opened.

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

22 February 1856, The Sacramento to Folsom railway, California, 35.4 ikm, opened.

1855, The Lehigh Valley Railway opened its first section between Easton and \Mauch Chunk. The line evenstually ran from New York to Buffalo.

1854, The Pennsylvania Railway, headed by J Edgar Thomson, aged 46, opened between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

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

22 February 1854, The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad was completed to Rock Island, Illinois.

1853, The railway from Philadelphia reached Absecon, New Jersey, later famous as Atlantic City.

18 February 1853, August Belmont, US railway financier, was born in New York.

1852, The first street railway opened in the Boston area, between Harvard Square, Cambridge, and Union Square, Somerville.

10 October 1852, The first train ran on the Rock Island line, 70 km from Chicago to Joliet, Illinois, in 2 hours. In 2/1854 this line reached Rock Island on the Mississippi to link Chicago to this major waterway. This railway eventually reached Minneapolis-St Paul, Galveston, Denver, Colorado Springs, Santa Rosa and Memphis.

20 February 1852, The first through train from the eastern USA reached Chicago on the Chicago Southeastern Railway. The railway helped make Chicago into a major grain and meat packing centre.

1851, The Hudson River Railway opened, linking New York with East Albany.

1851, The Baltimore and Ohio Railway reached the Ohio River at Wheeling.

1851, The railway reached Cleveland, Ohio.

16 August 1851, The railway from Laprarie, Quebec, Canada to Rouses Point, New York, USA, opened.

4 July 1851, Construction began at St Louis on the Missouri Pacific Railway. This railway was extended to serve the Mississippi Valley south to Memphis and New Orleans, and the Missouri Valley west to Kansas City and Pueblo, Colorado.

15 May 1851, The Erie Railway (begun 1832) reached Dunkirk on Lake Erie, linking New York with the Great Lakes and competing with the 1825 Erie Canal.

1849, The Chicago and Galena Railway reached Chicago. By 1869 Chicago was served by 10 railway lines.

1847, The railway first reached Indianapolis, Indiana State.

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

1842, The railway from Washington DC to Cumberland, Maryland, opened.

1841, The Boston to Albany railway opened.

1840, First railway in Mississippi opened, Vicksburg to Clinton.

1838, The first railway in Illinois opened, Jacksonville to Meredosia.

16 September 1838, James Hill, US railway capitalist, was born.

1/1838, Washington and New York were now linked by a chain of railways, with ferries across major rivers and stagecoach links between stations.

1837, The New York and Harlem Railway reached Harlem.

1836, The first railway in Maine, Bangor to Old Town, 20km, opened.

18 April 1836, The Long Island Railroad, USA, began operations.

1835, First steam hauled railway opened in Kentucky; Lexington to Franklin, 44 km. Extended to Louisville in 1851.

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

27 May 1835, Charles Francis Adams, President of the Union Pacific Railroad 1884-90, was born in Boston.

1834, The Tuscumbia to Decatur railway, Alabama, opened.

1834, The Camden to South Amboy railway, New Jersey,opened.

1834, The Baltimore to Harpers Ferry railway, West Virginia,opened.

1834, The Tallahassee to Port Leon railway, Florida, opened.

7 October 1834, Staple Bend rail tunnel, 6.4 km east of Joihnstown, poennsylvania, 275m long, opened.

1833, The Weldon, North Carolina, to Petersburg, Virginia, railway opened.

1833, The Charleston to Hamburg railway, South Carolina, opened.

9 November 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 June 1833, The Baltimore to Ohio railroad became the first railway to carry a US President, Andrew Jackson.

1832, The Northwich to Killingly railway, Connecticut, opened.

1832, The Detroit to St Joseph railway, Michigan, opened.

26 November 1832, Trams began running in New York City, between Prince Street and 14th Street.They were introduced by John Mason.

14 November 1832, The New York and Harlem railway began operations. It was New York�s first street railway. In 1834 itwas extended up 4th Avenue to 84th Street.

1831, The New Orleans to Lake Pontchartrain railway, Louisiana, opened.

1831, The Newcastle to Frenchtown railway, Delaware, opened.

1831, The New York to Schenectady railway,New York State, opened.

7/1831, The Newcastle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Railway Company opened a 27.8 km route; steam powere was used from 10/1832. It is now part of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

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

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

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

1830, The Mohawkand Hudson railway began operations. It later formed part of the New York Central railway in 1853.

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

14December 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 25December 1830.

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

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

9 October 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 August 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 July 1828, Construction began on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

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

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

10 January 1804, Oakes Ames, US industrialist who played a major role in the construction of the transcontinental railway across the USA to California, was born in Easton, Massachusetts (died in North Easton, Massachusetts, 8 May 1873).

Caribbean islands


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


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


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

Central American railways


1970, The Mexico City metro system opened.

1907, The Mexican Isthmus railway formally opened, across from Coatzacoalcos (Puerto Mexico) on the Atlantic coast 309 km to Salina Cruz on the Pacific coast. The line had actually been completed in 1894, but lack of port facilities along with defective construction rendered it useless.

1880, Concessions were granted for three rail lines from Mexico City south to Oaxaca, and north to the US frontier at Cuidad Juarez and to Laredo.

1874, A concession was granted for a 39 km line from the port of Progreso to Merida.

1873, The line from Mexico City to the seaport of Veracruz, 424 km, opened.

1862, 16 km of railway were in operation from Veracruz. This was to be part of the line to Mexico City.This year it was extended to Paso del Macho, total length 60 km.

1857, The Ferrocarril Mexicano was created.

1854, The Mexico City to Guadeloupe line, 7 km, opened.

El Salvador,

1882, First railway in El Salvador opened. It was a narrow guage line from Sonsonate to the port of Acajutla.

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


1869, First railway opened, Puerto Cortes to La Pimienta, 95 km.


1903, The railway reached Managua.


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

South American railways


1948, Argentinian railways were nationalised.

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

12/1913, The first urban metro system on South America opened, in Buenos Aires.

5 April 1910, A Trans-Andean railway from Mendoza, Argentina to Los Andes, Chile was completed. The line had been proposed back in 1854, but work did not begin until 1887. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1979 due to lack of demand, but freight traffic has grown.

1884, The railway reached the city of Mendoza.

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

30 August 1857, The first railway in Argentina opened, Parque to Floresta (Buenos Aires), 9.9 km.


1913, The Arica to La Paz railway opened.

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


30 May 1957, Brazilian Federal Railways, RFFSA, was established.

1912, The Madiera to Mamoro railway opened, 410 km, after 6 years construction during which 6,000 workers had died. Smakenbites, arrows from hostile indigenous inhabitants, malarial yellow fever and wild animals had all taken a toll. The railway was to export rubber, but the Brazilian rubber plantations were soon superseded by plantations in Africa and eastern Asia.

30 April 1854, The first railway in Brazil opened. It ran 10 km from Maua, Rio Bay, to the foot of Petropolis Sierra.


1948, The Northern TransAndine Railway from Antofagasta, Chile, to Salta, 904 km, opened.

1863, The Santiago to Valparaiso railway opened.

25December 1851, The first railway in Chile opened. It ran from the port of Caldera to Copiapo, 80.5 km..


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

1855, The first railway in Colomnia opened.


30 June 1972, The Georgetown to Plaisance railway closed.

1900, The railway reached Rosignol.

3 November 1848, The first railway in South America opened. It ran from Georgetown to Plaisance.


25 June 1908, The railway from Guayaquil, on the Pacific,to Quito fully opened. Construction had begun in 1871.


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


28 March 1905, The Lawa railway from Paramaribo to Dam opened in Suriname


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

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, as 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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