The first railway in Nepal opened in 1927 from Raxaul (India) to Amlekhganj, a distance of about 48km (46km in Nepal). It was built to 2ft 6in (762 mm) gauge.
This was joined in 1937 by a separate 2ft 6in (762 mm) gauge line, running for about 53km (50km in Nepal) from Bizalpura via Janakpur to Jaynagar (India), where there is interchange with a metre gauge line of the Indian Railways network.
The Amlekhganj line closed in the 1960s. About 6km of this route was subsequently used for a broad gauge (5ft 6in, 1675 mm) branch line from Raxaul to an Inland Clearance Depot at Birgunj. This line is operated by Indian Railways.
The line from Janakpur to Bizalpura is closed following a bridge collapse. The remainder of the line from Jaynagar to Janakpur (about 32 km) remains operational.
In 2011, the Government Department of Railways appointed a contractor to undertake detailed studies for a new 136km broad gauge railway from Birgunj to Bardibas, part of an ambitious project for a 1300km rail network in the country. The same contractor is also to undertake studies for a metro system in the capital, Kathmandu.
Flag image from CIA World Factbook