Re: Best gauge

Frank Stamford

Well if you are seeking the "best" gauge for a public railway carrying passengers and freight, I thought that question was settled in about 1835 - it is 1435 mm.

No doubt about that in my mind, every deviation from it was an economic disaster!

But all those economic disasters produced some wonderful fascinating material for organisations like the LRRSA to write about, and for numerous societies around the world to preserve.

George W. Hilton's book "American Narrow Gauge Railways" (Stanford University Press, 1990) covers this subject very well In the early sections of that book he covers the world-wide development of different gauges, and goes into the economics of it very thoroughly.


At 05:13 PM 10/02/2007, you wrote:

All all,

I feel that the Simla line in India can give us clues about this
question via comparing it to the VR lines and the large desert 'high
efficency' lines.

Michael, are you able to give an indication of the curves used and
maybe the clearances or the size of the rolling stock used on the
mountain Simla line in India?

This discussion is focused on the 'theoretical' best gauge and I guess
governments might have an interest in this to justify spending
taxpayers money wisely.

I suspect that in other cases the gauge chosen was for more arbitary
reasons. Mention was made that in certain industries had a tradition
of certain gauges. The gasworks one of 2' 6" was mentioned. The navy
line in Swan Island was 3' and the information suggests that this was
the gauge used in the UK for mines type depots. Do other people know
of 'tradional' gauges used in particular industries or perhaps by
particular engineers? This doesn't include the idea of getting
a 'bargain' loco which sets the gauge for the rest of the line.


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