Rail transport in Nauru

Rail transport in Nauru is used for moving calcium pyrophosphate from the island's interior to the cantilever jetties on the island's western coast. For this purpose, a 3,900 m long, 0.6096 m narrow gauge railway was built by the Pacific Phosphate Company in 1907. The line passes through the districts of Aiwo, Buada, Denigomodu, Nibok, Uaboe and Anibare.

A phosphate train in Nauru.
The phosphate railway in 1908
Nauru railway in 1917


A map of Nauru showing the railway (the dotted black line)

The railway at Aiwo jetty was electrified in 1912, but replaced by a conveyor belt between the storage bins and the jetty head.[1]

The gauge was upgraded to 0.9144 m narrow gauge railway by the British Phosphate Commission in 1920. In the past, steam engines were used to power the trains,[2] but the railway is nowadays worked by diesel engines, though occasionally, a tractor is used.

With Nauru's phosphate deposits almost depleted, the future of the railway is uncertain. The trains were still running as of 2008.[3][4]

Nauru's phosphate train features on several Nauru stamps, including a series from 1980 (Yvert no. 211-213) and another one from 1985 (Yvert no. 306, Scott no. 308).

The trains of Nauru have been depicted on commemorative Nauruan postage stamps.[5]

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External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Railways in Nauru and Ocean Island". The Railway Magazine. Vol. 94, no. 578. Westminster: Railway Publishing Co. November–December 1948. p. 411.
  2. ^ Image on pbase.com
  3. ^ "Things to Do in Nauru". VirtualTourist.com. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  4. ^ Images on Flickr
  5. ^ Infos on janeresture.com