Date   

Re: Best gauge

longworthjim
 

Frank

I agree that railway over capitalisation resulted from many sources,
with gauge being one of several contributors. Railways so
revolutionised land transport in overcomming the tyranny of distance
that cost implications were swamped by the slashed travel times.
Months on the road with a bullock team were literally cut to hours on
a train. There was little competition in performing the land
transport task. We now see the railway from a vastly different
perspective. With our different view comes comparing the railway with
concerns indiscernable during the great railway years.

Light American engineering would have been cheaper to build and be
more readily abandoned when the traffic failed to develope as
proponents claimed it would. If traffic did build up, then the light
line could have been upgraded, saving further small but worth having
funds. I argue that now in our post-railway era, 3ft 6in gauge would
have left us with more kilometres of open railway.

The railway was not seriously expected to make a proffit. Some
critiques said lines should pay their way, but in NSW Government
built lines for many reasons other than making the railway business
proffitable. Lines were highly political, often to secure votes from
areas. Many were described as developmental, in the hope they might
stimulate business. Some did some didn't. As with much British
engineering, NSW railways were built to last for a long time.
Builders could not concieve of the railway being superceeded by a
better transport technology. Gaining a line was seen as a great boost
in town prestige. Freight rates were cross-subsidised to assist
primary industry. Primary industry came to depend on cheap rates.
Passenger fares were cross-subsidised to share metropolitan benefits
with country communities, who thought they were travelling the longer
distances. The railway was seen as a mass employer. Government,
railway administrators, and communities all expected the railway to
be run as a so-called 'public service'. That was not just lip
service, but a significant ideology to be found in many spheres of
traditional Australian culture.

Seriously expecting the railway to pay seems to be a modern idea,
probably based on neo-liberal economic theory. Public shareholder
value is quite different to private shareholder value, yet the latter
seems to be being applied to the former.

Cheers
Jim

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, Frank Stamford <frank.stamford@...>
wrote:


Jim,

Looking at Australia as a continent isolated from every other
railway
system, I agree that 3 ft 6 in gauge would have been completely
successful
as a national railway gauge, and certainly infinitely better than
the mess
that we have been inflicted with.

However Hilton and others claim that the alleged difference in cost
between
narrow gauges and standard gauge is greatly overstated. There is
good
evidence for that - I think - in the way that vast mileages of very
light
standard-gauge-ish railways were built in the USA at very low cost,
and
then upgraded as traffic warranted. (They still didn't get the
gauge right,
as they were using gauges of 4 ft 6 in, 4 ft 8-1/2 in, 5 ft, 5 ft 6
in, and
6ft and others, but the point is they were building very cheap
railways
which were not narrow-gauge).

You correctly say that NSW railways were plunged into an enormous
capital
debt. But I do not think that was much related to the choice of
gauge, for
it was true of every state of Australia.

I agree that John Whitton grossly over-engineered the railways. The
same
was true of the early railways in Victoria and South Australia. But
the
money wasted was not in the gauge, it was in the civil engineering.
It
would have been better for the Colonial governments at the time to
have
brought in American railway engineers. That way much greater
mileages of
track could have been built quicker, and upgraded as the traffic
built up.
(The downside of that is that we would not have been left with all
the
magnificent buildings, bridges, and tunnel mouths from that era,
they would
have all either fallen down or been replaced, and all the early
locos would
have been 4-4-0s!).

By the way, I think I was just a little over-the-top in
saying "EVERY
deviation from it was an
economic DISASTER" .

Regards,

Frank




At 11:47 PM 11/02/2007, you wrote:

Frank et. al.

Given the size of the 3ft 6in gauge network in Queensland;
Tasmainia;
South Australia; Northern Teritory; Western Australia, i wonder
whether the selection of 4ft 8 1/2in was the 'Best Gauge' for
Australian railways?

I suspect that adopting standard gauge in Australia was more a
result
of a powerful engineering technician in John Whitton, and later
inter-
state politicing than technical suitability for the Australian
railway task!

Adopting standard gauge, rather than a narrower gauge, contributed
to
plunging NSW railways into enormous capital debt. A narrower gauge
would have been cheaper to build,so be easier to pay-off. A
narrower
gauge would have been cheaper to operate, so make running the
network
easier make pay. Standard gauge contributed towards crippling the
railway accounts. Until recently many NSW trains were characterised
as 'little trains running on a little railway'(S. Sharp, pers dis).
Few trains paid a return on standard gauge track. Reducing the
gauge
by 1ft 2 1/2in may well have produced a railway more in natural
scale
to the transport task that was to be performed here. In NSW
standard
gauge was an economic disaster!

John Kerr reckoned that the narrow gauge triumphed in Queensland!

The question would make an interesting counterfactual PhD thesis.

Jim Longworth

--- Frank Stamford <frank.stamford@> wrote:


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.

Frank


Re: Rail Gauge.

B.Rumary
 

Halfpilotstaff wrote:

Brunel's Broad Gauge (the REAL broad gauge...!) was 7ft, and was in
use on the Great Western Railway (and some of its branches) in
England for nearly 60yrs, until 1892 or thereabouts; in latter years
it was dual-gauged with standard to allow "compatibility" with other
lines.
By 1892 the remaining broad gauge ran from London to Penzance, with
some branches, of which I think the London-Bristol section was dual
gauge. There was also a large amount of standard gauge, some of which
had been converted from broad in the past and other sections had never
been broad. In 1892 it was decided to end the broad gauge, and all the
remaining broad-only sections were narrowed in one massive operation
that took only a few days. The broad gauge rails on the mixed gauge
track were removed piecemeal basis in the following months.

Brian Rumary, England

www.rumary.co.uk


Re: Best gauge

Michael J
 

I think it worth remembering the Australian context was very different
to other countries.

We are all attuned to thinking that Australia had a sparse network of
railways, because of our small population and vast distances.
Certainly this data from the Australian Yearbook in 1920 supports
that. The yearbook compares different countries, giving a figure of
miles of railway per 1000 square miles of land area:

Australia 8.73
India 20.16
United Kingdom 195.05
United States 89.57

Of course it is people that buy tickets and dispatch freight, not
square miles of land, so the yearbook also compared miles of railway
per 1000 persons:

Australia 4.9
India 0.12
United Kingdom 0.5
United States 2.53

So the average Australian had to support twice as much railway line as
the average American, and almost 10 times as much as the average Brit.
No wonder State governments discouraged competition! BTW, Australia
had the highest density of any of the 20 or so countries mentioned in
the article, with only Canada coming close.

OTOH India had both a low density in both categories. This combined
with low transfer costs due to low labour costs, probably explains why
India's narrow gauge lines were quite sucessful.

Michael J


Re: Rail Gauge.

halfpilotstaff
 

Brunel's Broad Gauge (the REAL broad gauge...!) was 7ft, and was in
use on the Great Western Railway (and some of its branches) in
England for nearly 60yrs, until 1892 or thereabouts; in latter years
it was dual-gauged with standard to allow "compatibility" with other
lines.

"Red For Danger" was a book on all significant railway disasters from
the beginning of railways through to the mid-1950s. It includes such
disasters as the Tay Bridge collapse, Shrewsbury and Hawes Junction,
to name just a few. It was written by L. T. C. Rolt, who also wrote a
very comprehensive biography on Brunel.

Brunel was plagued regards the Great Western and Broad Gauge, by a
quasi-scientific heckler with the grandiose name of Dionysius
Lardner, who was always trying to prove (and always unsuccessfully)
how unsafe and generally useless Broad Gauge was in comparison to
standard gauge. Rolt makes continued references to this personage in
the Brunel biography.



--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "Dick Holland" <rholland@...> wrote:


Greetings,

Just as a 'throw in'. In the art gallery at Broken Hill there is a
painting of some harbour on the southern coast of England. On the
quay illustrated the rail gauge is that extreme broad gauge used by
Brunel (8ft???).

The picture is worth looking at if ever in BHQ.

Incidentally, I believe that this was regauged to standard in one
hit and done over a very short time. And, I remember reading in a
book called Red for Danger that on one occasion this broad gauge was
responsible for minimum damage/casualties in some 'corn field meet'
that took place in the latter years of its existence.
____________________________________________
Richard Holland

Regional Inspector
Far West - Broken Hill

rholland@...
Mobile : 0427 010 184
www.rspcansw.org.au


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Best gauge - Peat railways

Phil Rickard <chy_gwel_an_meneth@...>
 

Unless I've missed it, I can't recall anyone mentioning Russia and the
USSR to date.
According to Keith Chester (Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotives in Russia
and the Soviet Union), total USSR n.g. milage peaked at about 50,000km
by the early 1960's, mainly 750mm gauge.
There is a chapter by Sergei Dorozhkov entitled "Steam in the Swaps –
Peat Railways" and it transpires that there were several thousand
miles, again mainly 750mm-gauge, used in the peat bogs transporting
peat to electricity generating stations and industrial concerns.
For a fascinating read I can thoroughly recommend Keith's book.

Cheers Phil


Re: Best gauge

Bill Bolton
 

On Sun, 11 Feb 2007 12:47:22 -0000, Jim Longworth wrote:

Reducing the gauge by 1ft 2 1/2in may well have produced a
railway more in natural scale to the transport task that
was to be performed here. In NSW standard gauge was an
economic disaster!
I am quite certain that Sydney region commuters will not agree with
your assertion.

Cheers,

Bill

Bill Bolton
Sydney, Australia


Re: Narrow Gauge, an article

bll_hnks
 

Lynn,



That's just how I see it happening.



Regards,

Bill Hanks



________________________________

From: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au [mailto:LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au] On
Behalf Of A C Lynn Zelmer
Sent: Saturday, 10 February 2007 3:50 PM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: RE: [LRRSA] Narrow Gauge, an article



Bill

At least a possibility... essentially an editing task, rather than
authoring, then verifying the result with a couple of the more
knowledgeable members prior to publication.

Best wishes,
Lynn

Lynn,

It has been suggested elsewhere that a lot of what has been
mentioned this could be brought together into and article. If you
want to do a short article for the modelers, would you mind going a
bit further with the information to produce an article for LR?

Regards,

Bill Hanks

________________________________

From: <mailto:LRRSA%40yahoogroups.com.au>LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
<mailto:LRRSA%40yahoogroups.com.au>
[mailto:<mailto:LRRSA%40yahoogroups.com.au>LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
<mailto:LRRSA%40yahoogroups.com.au> ]
On Behalf Of A C Lynn Zelmer
Sent: Friday, 9 February 2007 9:52 AM
To: LRRSA Yahoo Group
Subject: [LRRSA] Narrow Gauge, an article

I'd like to do a short web article on choosing a gauge for the Narrow
Gauge modelling special interest group's web site
(www.zelmeroz.com/ngrail).

Does any contributor to the recent discussion have a difficulty with
my using properly credited quotes as part of this article?

Thanks and best wishes,
Lynn
--
CaneSIG:
<http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig <http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig>
http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig <http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig>
<<http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig <http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig>
http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig <http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig> >
A C Lynn Zelmer, Coordinator
Box 1414 Rockhampton Qld 4700 Australia
Fax: +61 7 4936 2393



--
Lynn Zelmer Fax: +61 7 4936 2393
Box 1414, Rockhampton QLD 4700 Australia
http://www.zelmeroz.com <http://www.zelmeroz.com>


Re: Best gauge

B.Rumary
 

wrote:

I beg to differ regarding peat railways. In Britain, there were far more 2ft
gauge peat railways than 2ft 6ins and 3ft, and in Germany, where peat railways
became an art form, 600mm gauge was generally de rigeur IIRC.
Although the majority of German peat lines are 600mm gauge, some of the bigger
systems used 900mm. There were also a few of 700mm gauge, but these seem to have
been built by Dutch companies and I think they have now all gone (700mm was a
common industrial gauge in Holland). There were also a few other odd gauges used
for peat lines, such as 750mm and 1000mm and even the really odd 880mm!

Brian Rumary, England

www.rumary.co.uk


Re: Best gauge

Frank Stamford
 

Jim,

Looking at Australia as a continent isolated from every other railway
system, I agree that 3 ft 6 in gauge would have been completely successful
as a national railway gauge, and certainly infinitely better than the mess
that we have been inflicted with.

However Hilton and others claim that the alleged difference in cost between
narrow gauges and standard gauge is greatly overstated. There is good
evidence for that - I think - in the way that vast mileages of very light
standard-gauge-ish railways were built in the USA at very low cost, and
then upgraded as traffic warranted. (They still didn't get the gauge right,
as they were using gauges of 4 ft 6 in, 4 ft 8-1/2 in, 5 ft, 5 ft 6 in, and
6ft and others, but the point is they were building very cheap railways
which were not narrow-gauge).

You correctly say that NSW railways were plunged into an enormous capital
debt. But I do not think that was much related to the choice of gauge, for
it was true of every state of Australia.

I agree that John Whitton grossly over-engineered the railways. The same
was true of the early railways in Victoria and South Australia. But the
money wasted was not in the gauge, it was in the civil engineering. It
would have been better for the Colonial governments at the time to have
brought in American railway engineers. That way much greater mileages of
track could have been built quicker, and upgraded as the traffic built up.
(The downside of that is that we would not have been left with all the
magnificent buildings, bridges, and tunnel mouths from that era, they would
have all either fallen down or been replaced, and all the early locos would
have been 4-4-0s!).

By the way, I think I was just a little over-the-top in saying "EVERY
deviation from it was an
economic DISASTER" .

Regards,

Frank

At 11:47 PM 11/02/2007, you wrote:

Frank et. al.

Given the size of the 3ft 6in gauge network in Queensland; Tasmainia;
South Australia; Northern Teritory; Western Australia, i wonder
whether the selection of 4ft 8 1/2in was the 'Best Gauge' for
Australian railways?

I suspect that adopting standard gauge in Australia was more a result
of a powerful engineering technician in John Whitton, and later inter-
state politicing than technical suitability for the Australian
railway task!

Adopting standard gauge, rather than a narrower gauge, contributed to
plunging NSW railways into enormous capital debt. A narrower gauge
would have been cheaper to build,so be easier to pay-off. A narrower
gauge would have been cheaper to operate, so make running the network
easier make pay. Standard gauge contributed towards crippling the
railway accounts. Until recently many NSW trains were characterised
as 'little trains running on a little railway'(S. Sharp, pers dis).
Few trains paid a return on standard gauge track. Reducing the gauge
by 1ft 2 1/2in may well have produced a railway more in natural scale
to the transport task that was to be performed here. In NSW standard
gauge was an economic disaster!

John Kerr reckoned that the narrow gauge triumphed in Queensland!

The question would make an interesting counterfactual PhD thesis.

Jim Longworth

--- Frank Stamford <frank.stamford@...> wrote:


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.

Frank


Re: Best gauge

longworthjim
 

Frank et. al.

Given the size of the 3ft 6in gauge network in Queensland; Tasmainia;
South Australia; Northern Teritory; Western Australia, i wonder
whether the selection of 4ft 8 1/2in was the 'Best Gauge' for
Australian railways?

I suspect that adopting standard gauge in Australia was more a result
of a powerful engineering technician in John Whitton, and later inter-
state politicing than technical suitability for the Australian
railway task!

Adopting standard gauge, rather than a narrower gauge, contributed to
plunging NSW railways into enormous capital debt. A narrower gauge
would have been cheaper to build,so be easier to pay-off. A narrower
gauge would have been cheaper to operate, so make running the network
easier make pay. Standard gauge contributed towards crippling the
railway accounts. Until recently many NSW trains were characterised
as 'little trains running on a little railway'(S. Sharp, pers dis).
Few trains paid a return on standard gauge track. Reducing the gauge
by 1ft 2 1/2in may well have produced a railway more in natural scale
to the transport task that was to be performed here. In NSW standard
gauge was an economic disaster!

John Kerr reckoned that the narrow gauge triumphed in Queensland!

The question would make an interesting counterfactual PhD thesis.

Jim Longworth

--- Frank Stamford <frank.stamford@...> wrote:


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.

Frank


Re: Best gauge

Michael J
 

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, Frank Stamford <frank.stamford@...>
wrote:

it is 1435 mm.

No doubt about that in my mind, every deviation from it was an economic
disaster!
Hmmm, well not sure about that. Some narrow gauge railways did make
profits, and many standard gauge lines didnt. At the end of the day
the narrower the gauge the more route miles for your buck, and the
broader the gauge the faster you could go and the bigger load you
could carry.

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.
No doubt about that.

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.
I don't think economics was ever the end all. Today, especially here
in Australia, we are prepared to accept cross subsidies, government
support and some cobbled together systems to try and get
telecommunications to all. A hundred years ago it was rail transport.
If you couldn't afford a standard gauge line, you made do with a
narrow gauge line, and someone paid the ongoing costs.

Cheers,

Michael


Rail Gauge.

Dick Holland <rholland@...>
 

Greetings,

Just as a 'throw in'. In the art gallery at Broken Hill there is a painting of some harbour on the southern coast of England. On the quay illustrated the rail gauge is that extreme broad gauge used by Brunel (8ft???).

The picture is worth looking at if ever in BHQ.

Incidentally, I believe that this was regauged to standard in one hit and done over a very short time. And, I remember reading in a book called Red for Danger that on one occasion this broad gauge was responsible for minimum damage/casualties in some 'corn field meet' that took place in the latter years of its existence.
____________________________________________
Richard Holland

Regional Inspector
Far West - Broken Hill

rholland@rspcansw.org.au
Mobile : 0427 010 184
www.rspcansw.org.au


Re: Best gauge

Michael J
 

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, ceo8@... wrote:


I beg to differ regarding peat railways.
I guess I was looking at it from the other direction, peat railways
were prominent on a list of 2'6" railways. But as I've said before
2'/60cm was the "queen" of industrial rail gauges

Michael


Re: Best gauge

Bill Bolton
 

On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 21:20:27 +1100, Frank wrote:

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.
The *massive* amount of track (both originally laid, and still extant
and in heavy use) in ~3' to 3'6" gauge range indicates otherwise.

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

Cheers,

Bill

Bill Bolton
Sydney, Australia


Re: Best gauge

Bill Bolton
 

On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 06:13:03 -0000, John wrote:

Do other people know of 'tradional' gauges used in particular
industries or perhaps by particular engineers?
~18" gauge seems to have been popular in munitions handling
establishments.

Cheers,

Bill

Bill Bolton
Sydney, Australia


Re: "Best Gauge"

Bernie and Trish
 

They might as well have adopted the English loading gauge.

How much extra money is spent on redesigning locomotives and rollingstock to
make it all fit?

Then there is axle loading, again redesign something that is available off
the shelf and make it bloody fit.

Yes, I'm thinking US outline.

Bernie

_____

From: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au [mailto:LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au] On Behalf
Of Bill Russell
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2007 12:12 PM
To: lRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: [LRRSA] "Best Gauge"

G'day All,

I cannot remember where I obtained this information, but I assume it to be
true.

When the Irish were about to built their first railway they wrote to
(George?)
Stephenson and asked his advice on what gauge they should use, He is
supposed to have
replied something along the lines (pun intended) that 4ft 8 1/2 inches was
too narrow, and if
he was starting again he would choose a gauge between 5ft and 5 ft 6 ins.
Hence the Irish
choose 5ft. 3 inches.

Victorians and South Australians, we are right!

However, it is the loading gauge that is more important. Thankfully NSW
never
adopted the English loading gauge,

This does not answer the question of what is the ideal narrow gauge.

Regards,

Bill Russell


"Best Gauge"

Bill Russell
 

G'day All,

I cannot remember where I obtained this information, but I assume it to be true.

When the Irish were about to built their first railway they wrote to (George?)
Stephenson and asked his advice on what gauge they should use, He is supposed to have
replied something along the lines (pun intended) that 4ft 8 1/2 inches was too narrow, and if
he was starting again he would choose a gauge between 5ft and 5 ft 6 ins. Hence the Irish
choose 5ft. 3 inches.

Victorians and South Australians, we are right!

However, it is the loading gauge that is more important. Thankfully NSW never
adopted the English loading gauge,

This does not answer the question of what is the ideal narrow gauge.

Regards,

Bill Russell


Re: Best gauge

John Browning
 

I beg to differ regarding peat railways. In Britain, there were far more 2ft
gauge peat railways than 2ft 6ins and 3ft, and in Germany, where peat railways
became an art form, 600mm gauge was generally de rigeur IIRC. At the same
time, I think that the peat railways of Ireland started off as 2ft but all the
many major (extensive and well populated) systems are 3ft. (Peat railways in
Ireland are comparable in number and complexity to cane railways in
Queensland).

British dam and reservoir construction railways were generally 3ft. Ironstone
mines used 3ft or metre. Naval depot narrow gauge was 2ft 6ins but Army and
RAF tended to be 2ft, including target tramways.

French sugar beet lines were 600mm gauge while Indonesian sugar and palm oil
lines were generally 700mm as a result of the Dutch influence. USA-influenced
industrial applications tended to be 3ft.

750mm was widely used in central and eastern Europe (thus my argument about
economic development) while 762mm was strong in areas of British influence.

A scan of builder's lists from Britain and Europe will show that 2ft / 600mm
tended to be the prevalent one for locomotives of the smaller gauges (up to
3ft) and its intensive use in i/c locos (probably not unrelated to the gauge
of WW1 military light railways) has meant that it dominates narrow gauge
preservation activity, supported by the generally (but not in Queensland)
smaller size of its equipment and fixtures.

None of this is any comment on what is the "best" gauge. As can be seen,
specific economic and engineering considerations were not actually the
determining factor in most cases, with existing rolling stock determining
almost all the many "off beat" gauge choices.

Anyway for most of us, the "best" is what we like the most - a bit like
football teams, really. (Frank - don't get alarmed - this is just a simile.)

John


ideal gauge

John Peterson
 

Hello all,

Sorry Frank I disagree that standard gauge is always the ideal
public gauge in the context we are talking about. Hilton in his book
argues that since there are no US narrow gauge lines left that
therefore proves that standard gauge was more 'efficient'. That is a
silly arguement. Like saying that steam locos are inefficient
because they aren't used anymore. At the time we are talking about
steam locos [internal combustion a bit of a joke] and railways were
cutting edge technology and a major factor in economic development.
In districts development followed the railways and governments were
investing in the latest technology at the time by building railways
to anywhere with economic potential. Narrow gauge was part of this
push. A narrow gauge railway or nothing was the arguement. These
lines did not pay their way in costs in a narrow sense but including
the benifits of the economic activity it facilitated paints a
diffent light I think. It's often forgotten that railways were the
main training ground for technical skills; so many of the early
industries were started by people who worked and/or trained on the
railways or that railways facilitated. All of timber lines around
Erica is one example that would not have existed as early as it did
but for the existance of the narrow gauge; that's just one industry.
They became uneconomic because of a massive government investment in
roads etc. but if you can imagine a world where cars and roads
weren't invested in then it might still be 'efficient' to have
narrow gauge as a possible solution to traffic below a standard
gauge level. I'm sure in some remote corners of the world narrow
gauge is still the most efficient means of transport [not that many
now I'm sure].

Cheers
John


Simla versus puffing billy

John Peterson
 

Hello all,

Thanks Michael. It was amazing to see the similarities between the 2
lines. Is it a coincidence or were there some sort of common standards
among British colonials?

I wonder about the possibility of a sister railway relationship? A
swap of locomotives for a year? Costly but great publicity.

Cheers
John

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