What gauge?

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Scarbagjack

New Member
Please exuse my ignorance, ( I seem to be saying that more and more these days), I am wondering about what gauge you guys mostly run your trains on over there. Do you have different areas with different gauges?
Here in Australia we run three different gauges in different states.
The colonials were stubborn eh?

Anyway, being a trackworker myself, this is just something Ive been meaning to ask.
 

CGW101c

CGW Fan
In the United States our "Standard" gauge is 4ft 8-1/2inches. The history books say that is based on Roman chariot wheels or wagon wheel width. In the mountains of Colorado there are some 36" gauge. That is considered "narrow gauge". To the best of my knowlege the majority of narrow gauge lines are tourist railroads. I think some haul freight, but may not be common carriers. There are also some 30 inch gauge and 24 inch gauge tourist or museum railroads. That is what I know. Tom
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
In the United States our "Standard" gauge is 4ft 8-1/2inches. The history books say that is based on Roman chariot wheels or wagon wheel width.

The alternate and perhaps less romatic explination is that one of the early railroads in the United Kingdom was built at 5' gauge with the flanges outside the rail. George Stephenson moved the flanges inside the rail and the result being the seemingly odd 4' 8-1/2" gauge.
 

GRRR

OH, C'MON REF!!!!
Aww, that's just a nice fun story. Space shuttle rockets sized by horses butts.
I always thought that standard gauge is based on the stride of the elusive jackalope. At 4' 8 1/2", the jackalope wouldn't have to break stride while crossing in front of a moving train, thus less risk of hitting this endangered species....:)
 

Scarbagjack

New Member
Thanks for the replies folks.

Yes just as I suspected, standard gauge would probably hold true for the majority of your country, and yes there are a few different theories on how the gauge came into being.
I shall share a few with you.
We too, had to take local native wildlife into consideration upon design, hence three different gauges still in operation.
We have 3'6" ( narrow ), 4'8 1/2" ( standard ) and 5'3" (broad) gauges.

The following information I have gleaned from sifting through experiences related to me over the years of working with seasoned railway men. I can not vouch for the accuracy of the information

The narrow gauge was designed to allow for Drop Bears to be able to bounce out from within the running rails in one fluid movement to avoid oncoming rollingstock.
The Drop Bears are similar in looks to the Koala and live in trees. the only difference is they will usually drop from the overhanging foliage onto unsuspecting victims.

The standard gauge idea was imported from the US, and the origin of its design have already been explained as due to local wildlife considerations and has already been well stated and described by GRRR earlier in this thread. Although it was not only the standard gauge idea that was imported here to Oz, the Jackalope came as well, so, we not only have the Jackalopes to consider, but as we also have Jackaroos and Jillaroos,so we had to consider the Jlilalope as well.

The broad gauge was primarily used for the defence of small country towns against the Charlie Wombat. At certain times of the year this particular breed of male Wombat after consuming vast quantities of an hallucinogenic tree root, would go on a lust and toxin fuelled rampage to find a mate. Being a large solid slow moving creature with sharp teeth and razor sharp claws, the Charlie Wombat had a terrifying temper and could explode in deadly bursts of violence against any creature ( animal or human) that did not submit to their amorous advances.
The weakness of these Wombats was the fact they had a poor memory and would get confused and turn back 180 degrees if after a distance of 5 feet was travelled without meeting an obstacle,and then they would head away from the threatened town and move onto other ventures.

This is why I love railway people and railway life there is so much knowledge and new information to be found. ( I am writing a blog about my experiences)

One only has to know where to look and what to sift through to find it.;)
 

Csalem

New Member
Thanks for the replies folks.

Yes just as I suspected, standard gauge would probably hold true for the majority of your country, and yes there are a few different theories on how the gauge came into being.
I shall share a few with you.
We too, had to take local native wildlife into consideration upon design, hence three different gauges still in operation.
We have 3'6" ( narrow ), 4'8 1/2" ( standard ) and 5'3" (broad) gauges.

The broad gauge was primarily used for the defence of small country towns against the Charlie Wombat. At certain times of the year this particular breed of male Wombat after consuming vast quantities of an hallucinogenic tree root, would go on a lust and toxin fuelled rampage to find a mate. Being a large solid slow moving creature with sharp teeth and razor sharp claws, the Charlie Wombat had a terrifying temper and could explode in deadly bursts of violence against any creature ( animal or human) that did not submit to their amorous advances.
The weakness of these Wombats was the fact they had a poor memory and would get confused and turn back 180 degrees if after a distance of 5 feet was travelled without meeting an obstacle,and then they would head away from the threatened town and move onto other ventures.
Wish we had a similar story in Ireland where we use 5'3". Our reason is more boring - it was the compromise gauge between several railway companies who all used different gauges!
 

Beverlyhelper

beverlyhelper
Mythology and Railroads

Wish we had a similar story in Ireland where we use 5'3". Our reason is more boring - it was the compromise gauge between several railway companies who all used different gauges!
Oh, I'm sure you could work up some good stories about how Trolls or Leprechauns devised means to confuse the Irish railways! :)
 

NM_RailNut

Member
^I think we'd probably use our most common reason to do anything - it was to annoy the British! :)
You're sure it wasn't a bit too much Guinness? :)
(You do realize, of course, that God created beer to keep the Celts from taking over the world, and that little plan of His seems to have worked pretty well so far.;):D)
 

Csalem

New Member
Oh I don't know. 40 million in America claim Irish ancestry and I think the world total is about 60 million. Only about 4-5 million of us on the island so I think globally we are doing quite well!
 

Track Tester

New Member
I believe there is a couple of commuter lines that run narrow gage, and I think it's Philly that uses a wide gage. I'm not sure of the numbers but I'll see about getting them.
 

NM_RailNut

Member
Oh I don't know. 40 million in America claim Irish ancestry and I think the world total is about 60 million. Only about 4-5 million of us on the island so I think globally we are doing quite well!
I do believe I said "take over the world", not reproduce!!:D Although alcohol can have a negative effect there as well, depending on the situation...;):D

Then again, if having a person of Irish ancestry as president counts as "taking over the world", it does make that bit about beer rather moot, doesn't it?:)
 

Scarbagjack

New Member
Track Tester
I believe there is a couple of commuter lines that run narrow gage, and I think it's Philly that uses a wide gage. I'm not sure of the numbers but I'll see about getting them.
Thanks, i'd be interested to learn if there is a narrow commuter gauge and what that would be.
 

Track Tester

New Member
Ok, this is the info I just got, Philly's older trolley lines run at 62". BART in San Francisco runs 65". I guess there is no narrow gauge lines running. I do know of a RRer with a little private RR out by Leavenworth WA that's narrow gage! :)
 

Scarbagjack

New Member
Ok, thanks Mr.Tester.
I was not sure if there was any light rail projects over there that ran on a narrow gauge.
When I travelled from New Mexico towards Colorado a few years back, I saw a rail line that was being constructed in the middle of the freeway, sort of from Albuquerque towards Santa Fe I think.
I did not manage to get any photos as I was driving, but I sort of had the impression it was a narrow gauge. Not likely it seems.
Thanks for your input.
 




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