The Narrow Tracks That Unite Europe

If there’s one thing that has united Europe — more than kings, emperors, religion, political ideology, or a common currency — it’s probably its train system.

Antwerp Central Station

The narrow tracks that seamlessly connect cities and countries and people.

image Salzburg Station with the Alps in the background

You can be in Amsterdam from Brussels in two hours, or to Paris for that matter; Salzburg from Vienna or to Munich under three.


It takes a lot of infrastructure and investment, but it’s more efficient in the long run and has created tremendous economic value.


It also requires a vision and determination, and a mindset that connects instead of isolates.

Railways, narrow as they are, link and expand the world.

Castles, lovely as they are, went obsolete 500 years ago.

ghent belgium medieval castle of the counts gravensteen
Ghent Castle of the Counts (Gravensteen)


There’s a belief that the standard distance between railroad tracks of 4 feet 8-1/2 inches dates back to the days of Roman chariots. Not so, according to this article.


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