Re: Narrow gauge - in 1905

John Stutz


I agree that South Africa is a good example of successful narrow gauge operation, but note that the 42" gauge is the regional standard gauge, and that their 24" gauge agricultural development  lines are now largely (wholly?) abandoned.  Additionally, SAR's lines were mostly built to contemporary mainline railroad standards, while poorly located ones have been upgraded, and that the government long discouraged competition by trucking.

Similarly, the Queensland Gvt Ry moves a large export coal traffic over upgraded 42" gauge lines to the coal terminals, while former agricultural development branches have withered.

In Brazil the meter gauge (39.37") mainline of the Estrada de Ferro Victoria a Minas started as a light development railroad, has been twice extensively rebuilt, and has for the last half century carried an immense iron ore traffic down to Victoria.  In fact, much of South America's railways remain meter gauge, and will likely continue so indefinably, particularly where they are the regional standard gauge.

Japanese railways originally standardized on the 42" gauge, and by far the larger part remains on this gauge, but the primary passenger lines are wholly new built over the last 50 years, on the 56.5" gauge, to far higher standard than any US lines.  Being purely passenger lines, the break of gauge problem is minimized.

John Stutz

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