The Railway History Database is an evolving dataset aiming to trace the development of the world’s railway network. It collects structured data describing the infrastructure itself as well as companies, agencies, other players and how they developed over time. Links to documents and other sources provide a starting point for further research into the history of the railways and how they changed society.
The database and the project are still in their early stages. But you are welcome to have a look at what’s there already:
as of 2017-08-20
Focus is currently on Germany. A somewhat complete list of lines has been produced that includes all lines in the semi-official directory of lines (aka ‘VzG’) as well as a large number of disused state, private, and tertiary railways. Industrial railways and trams have been excluded for now.
Adding concession and opening information for lines from Die Deutschen Eisenbahnen in ihrer Entwicklung 1835–1935.
This work also covers lines mentioned in the soure now in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Include information from the database published by Deutsche Bahn as part of their Open Data Portal. In particular, this includes information on stations and other points in the network as well as geographical data for the network operated by DB Netz.
Include pointers to and information derived from the Law Gazettes of the various German states, starting with Prusia.
The Railway History Database is currently maintained by Martin Hoffmann. You can contact me by email at email@example.com. If you have questions, suggestions, or corrections for the data, you can also create an issue on Github directly.