Bigger gauge better? Engineer wanted 5 or 6 ft. gauge.

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Robert Gift

former OL presenter
My great uncle said that his steam locomotive, a huge NYC 4-8-4, was as large as it could get because it was restricted by the track's gauge.

Also that rail cars could be much bigger if 5 or 6 foot gauge and passenger cars would be much more smooth, stable and roomy if large gauge.

Was he correct?

Thank you.

Robert
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
Technically, yes. And 10' wide moreso. But alas, us engineers don't often get to design things with absolutely no constraints. Engineering is all about getting the best out of a less-than-best situation.
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
A wider gauge would give more stability for a given load or the ability to increase the car dimensions. The trade off is a higher initial cost.

As locomotives grew the NYC had clearance limitations with bridges and tunnels. Portions of the NYC’s right of way dated from the mid-1800’s. The early construction when equipment was smaller in part created the restrictions. To carry the size boiler the Niagara needed they had some unusual features like a recessed steam dome (if you can call it that) due to height restrictions.
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Thank you, both.

I don't understand why an Australian railroad is reducing their already existing larger gauge, 5' 3", to standard gauge.
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
Thank you, both.

I don't understand why an Australian railroad is reducing their already existing larger gauge, 5' 3", to standard gauge.
because a RR using a non-standard gage must custom-build everything. Using standards lowers costs significantly.
 

NM_RailNut

Member
Thank you, both.

I don't understand why an Australian railroad is reducing their already existing larger gauge, 5' 3", to standard gauge.
Because the Australian transcontinental line and the new route linking Darwin with it (and the rest of the Australian rail network) are built to standard gauge, and having all standard gauge rails means there's no need for "third rail" or two sets of rolling stock to permit direct interchange with the rest of the national network.
 




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