Rail transport in Iceland

Iceland does not have a public railway system. There have been three small railways, but none became part of the public transport network. The main reasons for the lack of railways are the small population, competition with automobile traffic, and the harsh environment.

A proposal for a railway in Iceland was first made in the early 1900s, involving a line between Reykjavík and Selfoss, but it didn’t proceed. In the 2000s, there were new proposals for both a light railway system in the Capital Region and an airport rail link to Keflavík.

. . . Rail transport in Iceland . . .

Map of Reykjavík Harbour Railway from 1902 by N. P. Kirk
Locomotive Pioner as preserved today.
Locomotive Minør as preserved today.

Probably the most well-known Icelandic rail project, the Reykjavík Harbour Railway, of 900 mm (

2 ft 11+716 in)narrow gauge, operated from 1913 until 1928 for the construction of the harbour breakwaters. The railway operated from a quarry outside the city, Öskjuhlíð, from which it ran a short distance to a junction, passing loop, and sidings. The junction was located just south of a large field which became (and remains) the Reykjavík city airport. From there, one line ran to the west, around the western edge of the city, before proceeding along the newly constructed western harbour pier to the island of Effersey. A headshunt there allowed trains to reverse along a further line, built out onto the outer harbour wall, and extended as that wall itself grew longer. From the first junction a second line ran east around farms to a locomotive depot just outside the city, and on to a further junction where a short branch line led into a secondary quarrying site (now in the heart of the capital’s residential district). The main line continued to a further junction on the edge of the docks. From there, one line ran along the quayside (where one of the locomotives is today preserved on display), whilst the other ran out along the eastern harbour wall.[1]

. . . Rail transport in Iceland . . .

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. . . Rail transport in Iceland . . .