As posted on the FR e-group by Dan Crow, a very nice little summary of why I too find narrow gauge railways most intriguing:
Narrow gauge railways have many advantages over their standard gauge brethren:
They are human scale; rather than huge fire-breathing dragons huffing in some cavernous terminus…
They are our size: carriages just big enough to hold a human frame; locomotives that a few strong arms can lift back onto the track when they go wandering.
They are individual – a class of locomotives on the narrow gauge means two engines that are somewhat alike, not hundreds of identical machines.
Each line and item of rolling stock is idiosyncratic and personal. They are built to serve a specific need and not as general-purpose transportation systems – they are specific railways built for local needs. Each railway is indelibly shaped by its purpose and the landscape it travels through.
They are humble. They do not set speed records, nor carry great bulk of goods. They trundle up the valley to retrieve a few trucks and trundle back to the quay. In other words they are of their place, perfectly fitted into the landscape,both natural and human. They are about, and of, their community, not commerce.
They are your family, not your boss.