Why was the Panama RR 5-foot gauge instead of 4' 8-1/2" ?

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Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Why not use plentiful standard-gauge cars and locomotives already in use?

(My great uncle, a NYC locomotivengineer, said it is unfortuante that our gauge is not 5 or 6 feet. He said his huge 4-8-4 locomotive was as large as it could get, limited by the gauge.)

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Thank you, both.
I thought they used 5-foot gauge for building the canal because it could haul greater amounts of material.

Gauge was 5 feet when I road on a locomotive in 1993(?). Some of the rails were loose and the engineeer asked me to flag some grade crossings because wires had been stolen and scrapped, rendering the American-made
(o)T(o) inoperative. At one crossing, I recall one (o) illuminated steadily. Gates did not operate.

A passenger train of three cars took poor residents to a more inland and cool area where they could recreate and picnic. (Fare was 25 cents each way I recall).

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