Cover of Narrow Gauge Railways of PortugalNarrow Gauge Railways of Portugal
by W.J.K. Davies
Published by Plateway Press
235x175mm, 320 pages, hardcover.

Right up to the late 1970’s, Portugal ranked as one of the most fascinating countries in Europe for narrow gauge railways – steam and scenery on the long country lines; long individual mixed trains which served the localities just as they had done for over seventy years and intensive workings on the suburban system around Porto.

With no less than eight major companies involved, the story is both long and complex and this is certainly the first comprehensive history of this narrow gauge in English or any other language. It is the result of over twenty years fieldwork by the author, an acknowledged authority on narrow gauge matters, and is based on widespread access to the archives of the Caminhos de Ferro Portuguese and collaboration with their museums section.

It details in depth the history and descriptions of all lines, together with detailed notes on locomotives and stock, including the shortlived C.F. Mineriro do Lena, the even shorterlived roadside steam trams from Penafiel, Torres Novas and Regua and the odd Larmanjat monorails that functioned briefly around Lisbon.

The narrative is supplemented with detailed maps, track plans and a selection of scale drawings, which will be of special interest to modelers. A large selection of black and white photographs, many unpublished, completes the full coverage of the subject. 120 photographs, 30 maps and 22 scale drawings.

Review by Andrew Neale appeared in issue 121.