Received the Following email about Track Gauge

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Don't know if there's any truth to it, but enjoy!

Railroad Tracks
The U.S. Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?

Because that's the way they built them in England , and English expatriates designed the U.S. Railroads. Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did 'they' use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So, who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe(includingEngland ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.

Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore, the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.
In other words, bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder, 'What horse's *** came up with this?', you may be exactly right.

Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
Now, the twist to the story:When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit larger, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over 2,000 years ago by the width of a horse's ***.

And you thought being a horse's *** wasn't important!
Now you know! Horses' ***** control almost everything!
This explains a whole lot of stuff about Washington D.C., doesn't it?
 

Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Location
Blighty.
Don't know if there's any truth to it, but enjoy!

Railroad Tracks
The U.S. Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?


Because that's the way they built them in England , and English expatriates designed the U.S. Railroads. Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did 'they' use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So, who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe(includingEngland ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.


And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.

Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore, the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.
In other words, bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder, 'What horse's *** came up with this?', you may be exactly right.


Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
Now, the twist to the story:When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.


The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit larger, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over 2,000 years ago by the width of a horse's ***.

And you thought being a horse's *** wasn't important!
Now you know! Horses' ***** control almost everything!
This explains a whole lot of stuff about Washington D.C., doesn't it?
All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Fact Check - Are U.S. Railroad Gauges Based on Roman Chariots?

...So, rather than going into excruciating detail about the history of transportation, we’ll simply note that roads are built to accommodate whatever uses them, and that for many centuries prior to the advent of railroads, what traveled on roads were mostly wheeled conveyances, pulled by beasts of burden (primarily horses), carrying passengers and goods. Physical conditions dictated some of the dimensions of those conveyances (such as the width of their axles) and largely ensured that they would fall within a fairly narrow range of variation: Horse-drawn vehicles, whether they were chariots or carts or carriages, all served similar functions, so practical considerations (e.g., the speed at which horses could travel, the amount of weight horses could pull, the number and arrangement of horses that could be controlled by a single driver) required that they be relatively similar in size as well.

That may suffice as an explanation covering the specific combination of horse-drawn vehicles and roads, but what about vehicles that traveled on rails instead of roads (such as trolleys), or that weren’t pulled by horses (such as trains)? Why should they be similar in size to their predecessors?

Although we humans can be remarkably inventive, we are also often resistant to change and can be persistently stubborn (or perhaps practical) in trying to apply old solutions to new conditions. When confronted with a new idea such as a “rail,” why go to the expense and effort of designing a new vehicle to use on it rather than simply adapting ones already in abundant use on roadways? Wouldn’t it make sense to put the same type of conveyance pulled by regular horses on the ground behind an “iron horse” running along a rail?

Full article can be found here - https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/railroad-gauge-chariots/
126

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Could you please elaborate as to why?
According to the authors of the article that track gauge allows the most efficient use of cubic air space in terms of loading gauge and swept envelope, carrying capacity and speed depending on the purpose the railborne vehicle is being put to. I didn't know but there is complete mathematical theorem to explain it. Basically we should all abandon so called standard gauge and start again - Yeah, like I can see that now there are trains carrying thousands of tons of freight and passenger trains capable of approaching 300mph with 1,000 people aboard.



e the
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
An Interview With the Guy Behind That Viral Railroad-Gauge Tweet Thread
“It’s only a bit of fun at the end of the day.”
By Aaron Mak
Oct 02, 20191:18 PM

On Friday, a 59-year-old solicitor from Cork, Ireland, named Bill Holohan posted an 11-part thread on Twitter about the history of railway gauges, which is the distance between rails. In the thread, Holohan contends that the standard railroad gauge in the U.S.—4 feet, 8.5 inches—derives from the way that rail lines were built in England, where engineers based the width of their railroads on the spacing of road ruts in Imperial Rome, which were in turn designed to accommodate the size of horses’ rear ends. Holohan then writes that one of the first manufacturers of spaceship rocket boosters in the U.S. built them to ensure that they would fit into train tunnels, which are slightly wider than the standard rail gauge. Based on these suppositions, Holohan concludes with a pithy line: “Ancient horse’s ***** control almost everything and…. CURRENT Horses ***** are controlling everything else.”

Full article can be found here - https://slate.com/technology/2019/10/bill-holohan-viral-railroad-gauge-twitter-interview.html

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Location
Blighty.
An Interview With the Guy Behind That Viral Railroad-Gauge Tweet Thread
“It’s only a bit of fun at the end of the day.”
By Aaron Mak
Oct 02, 20191:18 PM

On Friday, a 59-year-old solicitor from Cork, Ireland, named Bill Holohan posted an 11-part thread on Twitter about the history of railway gauges, which is the distance between rails. In the thread, Holohan contends that the standard railroad gauge in the U.S.—4 feet, 8.5 inches—derives from the way that rail lines were built in England, where engineers based the width of their railroads on the spacing of road ruts in Imperial Rome, which were in turn designed to accommodate the size of horses’ rear ends. Holohan then writes that one of the first manufacturers of spaceship rocket boosters in the U.S. built them to ensure that they would fit into train tunnels, which are slightly wider than the standard rail gauge. Based on these suppositions, Holohan concludes with a pithy line: “Ancient horse’s ***** control almost everything and…. CURRENT Horses ***** are controlling everything else.”

Full article can be found here - https://slate.com/technology/2019/10/bill-holohan-viral-railroad-gauge-twitter-interview.html

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
I thought that the USA adopted the same gauge as the UK because the first engines used in the USA and especially in the North East were British built. It makes sense to adopt the same gauge as the British especially if the Brits were supplying the engines.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
I thought that the USA adopted the same gauge as the UK because the first engines used in the USA and especially in the North East were British built. It makes sense to adopt the same gauge as the British especially if the Brits were supplying the engines.
In some cases yes, but two engines, never delivered which eventually became 7ft gauge on the Great Western Railway were originally being constructed for a US railroad at 6ft, and were copies of a design for a Russian road at 5ft 3" !
It is also worth remembering that our "standard gauge" is not universal even now as there are countries where "Cape Gauge" 3ft 6" is standard. Japan for example where our "standard" is only used for new high speed lines.
 

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Except that standardization of equipment and inter connection of separate lines was a very serious issue in 1850's and 1860's.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Except that standardization of equipment and inter connection of separate lines was a very serious issue in 1850's and 1860's.
You make a very good point there, people get hung up on track gauge, but even where the gauge was the same, technical rolling stock standards could be and often were different, wheel profiles for example. One railroads profile might not fit the switches and check rails of another. or the rail head was a different profile.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
You make a very good point there, people get hung up on track gauge, but even where the gauge was the same, technical rolling stock standards could be and often were different, wheel profiles for example. One railroads profile might not fit the switches and check rails of another. or the rail head was a different profile.
And the inventory needs of any repair shop multiplied as the variety of cars and locomotives grew.
 

Southern Unionist

First Sergeant
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Location
NC
For a gauge of 4'-8.5", if your wheel flanges are one inch in thickness and there's a tolerance of a quarter inch on each side, the inside to inside distance between your wheel surfaces will be exactly 4.5 feet. That was their starting point for calculations.

Inside distance had to do with how much space they thought they would need for boiler diameter, plus clearance. Obviously, they exceeded 4.5 feet quickly.

Railcar bodies were standardized at ten feet because it's a round number.
 
Last edited:

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
For a gauge of 4'-8.5", if your wheel flanges are one inch in thickness and there's a tolerance of a quarter inch on each side, the inside to inside distance between your wheel surfaces will be exactly 4.5 feet. That was their starting point for calculations.

Inside distance had to do with how much space they thought they would need for boiler diameter, plus clearance. Obviously, they exceeded 4.5 feet quickly.

Railcar bodies were standardized at ten feet because it's a round number.
Purring my railroad hat firmly on:
The problem is that there wasn't a standard wheel dimension specification for many years - the crucial measurement for passing over switches and crossings being the back to back distance. Additionally track standards with regard to flange clearances and rail heights from foot to head were also not standardised. Even today here in Europe (leaving Britain out for the moment), a special set of interoperability standards have had to be agreed to allow international services to run with everyone's rolling stock. Britain, although with a smaller loading gauge is slowly conforming with all new rail standards as relaying takes place - it makes it easier for the mills to produce massive quantities or rail for everyone.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top