In the Portuguese railway system, narrow-gauge lines were an important part of the network, accounting for a fifth of the extent and roughly a sixth of the traffic. Portuguese historiography about these railways focuses on partial aspects of their evolution and does not provide a general critical overview of their history. In this article, I propose the analysis of Portuguese narrow gauge as a Large Technological System connecting the Portuguese center(s) to its periph-ery(ies) in different stages of its evolution, from its implementation to its decline. Using available literature and unpublished statistical data of operation, I demonstrate how narrow gauge was unable to compete with automobility and ceased to be an alternative for long-distance transportation, but is resurfacing with different uses and goals.
- railway heritage