Above: The Harz Narrow Gauge Railways (in German, the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen or HSB) are a 140 kilometre network of metre gauge railways in the Harz mountains in central Germany. The locomotive is a prototype Einheitslok (literally 'standard locomotive') which usually works on the Selke Valley line to Quedlinburg. 20th July 2011. (Lisa Lewis)

Above: One of the HSB's two operational Mallet locomotives, no. 99 5902, seen at Elend. These historic engines are usually held in reserve but work occasional specials to the Brocken, which is the highest point on the network. During the Cold War, the Brocken branch served a Soviet listening post at the summit and was not open to the public. However, since then – due to the steep climb and impressive scenery – this has become the most popular tourist route on the newtork. Mallet locomotives are articulated with two pairs of cylinders, as can be seen above. The design was developed by the Swiss engineer Anatole Mallet, whose name is properly pronounced in the French manner, i.e. 'Mallay'. Inset: The manufacturer's plate from 1898. 19th July 2011. (Richard Lewis)
Above: We're now off to Spain to sample one of the country's Vias Verdes, literally 'green lanes', which are based on disused railway lines. This is the first tunnel (36 metres) out of Xivares on the former line to Perlora, which ran along the north coast of Spain east of Santander. The modern 'via verde' is based on the so-called 'El Carreño' of 1909, which traversed a particularly rugged area of the coast, overhanging the cliffs at Tranqueru beaches. Click here for a photographic collage, which includes a map of the route. 23rd November 2011. (Richard Lewis)
Above: The photographer photographed – just beyond the tunnel seen in the picture above. Richard Lewis has contributed a good number of images to this website over the years, so this portrait of the man in his natural railway rambling habitat is probably well overdue. 30th November 2011. (Lisa Lewis)
Above: Here's something you don't see often on a railway walk – an avalanche shelter designed to throw rockfalls over the trackbed and into the cove below. God help anyone on the beach at such a time! 23rd November 2011. (Richard Lewis)
Above: The attractive coastline along this part of the Bay of Biscay must have provided railway passengers with a memorable journey – no less so the modern 'via verde' for walkers and cyclists. 23rd November 2011. (Richard Lewis)
Above: This cutting towards the Perlora end of the line demonstrates the effort and expense required to construct this railway. . As the line passes Rador, it maintains its north-westerly bearing and cuts through a large headland via two tunnels to reach its final destination. 27th November 2011. (Richard Lewis)
Above: This is the view looking back to the east as the trail nears Perlora. the railway can be seen clearly in the right of the picture as a near horizontal ledge cut into the side of the cliffs. In truth, this doesn't look like a bad place to spend an autumn holiday! 28th November 2011. (Richard Lewis)
Above: As the 'via verde' approaches Perlora and passes through its longest tunnel (136 metres), it bursts out of the cliff to run alongside the metre gauge light rail system that still serves the town, this providing a service from Bilboa to Gijon via Santander. The railway system in Spain is quite the enthusiast's delight – it is run by a mixture of public and private operators, and runs on no fewer than four gauges. In this last look at 'El Carreño', the old and new routes can be seen side by side: the comparative difference in the tunnels' sizes is partly explained by the different gradients as the respective lines approach them. 1st December 2011. (Richard Lewis)