List of The Longest Railways in The World

Did you know that Richard Trevithick invented the first full-scale working locomotive in 1804?

However, the British engineer’s inventions proved unfeasible as the engine proved to be too heavy for the cast iron train tracks.

Trains underwent massive leaps in technology, from the old steam engines to cutting-edge electric rail in some countries today.

Rail transport has remained relevant, particularly in cargo haulage, where it shines due to its high capacity and reliability.

The predominant railway track technologies are the meter gauge rail (one-meter wide) and the Standard Gauge Rail (1.435m wide).

The 14 Longest Railways in The World

1. Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway track in the world. It is the longest journey you can go by train without changing trains.

The track is 9,259 km (5,753 miles) and spans from the Russian capital Moscow to Vladivostok. Vladivostok is a Russian port city near Russia’s border with China and North Korea.

This journey takes almost seven days, with 73 stops along the way.

2. Kislovodsk-Tynda Railway

The second-longest railway is also in Russia, and it connects Kislovodsk(a city in Northern Russia) and Tynda(a town which is an important railway junction).

The railway is 7,734 km (4,806miles), and the journey takes six days.

3. Moscow-Neryungri Railway

The third longest railway is also in Russia and spans from Moscow to Neryungri (a town in Russia).

The 6,950 km (4,318 miles) voyage takes 140 hours and has 91 stops along the way.

4-12. China Railways

The eight next longest railway lines are all in China. They are operated by China Railways, a state-owned sole proprietorship previously known as China State Railway Group Company Ltd. Rail is the main form of transport in China, particularly for cargo.

GuanzhouLhasa4980 km (3094 miles)
Shanghai Yining 4742 km (2947 miles)
Shenzhen Urumqi 4666 km (2899 miles)
Guanzhou Urumqi 4663 km (2897 miles)
Changchun Sanya 4647 km (2888 miles)
Nanning Urumqi 4617 km (2869 miles)
Harbin Kunming 4574 km (2842 miles)
Changchun Urumqi 4507 km (2801 miles)

13. Toronto-Vancouver Railway

The next longest railway line is in Canada, connecting Toronto and Vancouver. This bi-weekly journey is 4,466 km (2,775 miles) and takes about four days.

The train itself is known as The Canadian and is operated by Via Rail, a Canadian Crown corporation.  This passenger train began operations on April 24, 1955, and has been chugging along ever since.

This cross-country voyage from Toronto to Vancouver has 66 stops.

14. Chicago-Los Angeles Railway

The next longest railway line is the Chicago to Los Angeles route. This 4390 km route connects two of America’s most famous cities and is run by Amtrak.

Amtrak is also known as National Railroad Passenger Corporation and connects various American cities by offering rail services. It also runs trains to nine destinations in Canada.

The Longest Railway Network by Country

1. United States of America

The country with the longest railway track network is The United States of America which has over 250,000 km of rail. Most of this capacity is reserved for freight trains.

Freight lines constitute roughly 80 % of the railway, with passenger train network covering 35,000 km. Amtrak, the national passenger carrier, operates more than thirty routes strewn over 500 destinations.

2. China

China has the second-longest rail network globally. Its railway network covers over 146,000 km and consists of conventional lines and high-speed rail.

Trains on the high-speed rail can reach speeds of 350 kilometers per hour! China’s train network consists of over 108,000 km conventional rail and over 38,000 km high-speed rail.

It carries over 3.66 billion passengers annually, making it second after India in passenger numbers.

3. Russia

Russia Rail Map.svg

Russia has the third-longest railway network in the world. Its railway network employs a whopping 800,000 people and covers over 130,000 kilometers.

A significant chunk of this network is involved in industrial activities like mining and lumbering. The main minerals being hauled are coke and coal, making up about one-third of all freight.

4. India

India has the fourth largest railway network consisting of 67,956 kilometers(42,226 miles). However, India is the world leader in passenger numbers, with over 22 million passengers ferried daily (8 billion annually). 

All railway activities fall under the purview of Indian Railways. Indian Railways is the eighth largest employer globally, with 1.254 million employees.

Trains that ply these railway routes are either diesel-powered or electric.