The Railway History Database

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:

Current status

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.

Current work:


The Railway History Database is currently maintained by Martin Hoffmann. You can contact me by email at If you have questions, suggestions, or corrections for the data, you can also create an issue on Github directly.