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Author Topic: Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width  (Read 979 times)
Oxonhutch
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« on: December 26, 2019, 04:43:05 pm »

So we have enjoyed comparing various places that we have enjoyed rail travel within Europe from Grahame’s latest Member's Travel Record and it got me thinking that some of my more exotic rail journeys were outside of Europe all together. And then I got thinking of the various systems and indeed gauges experienced other than Stephenson’s Standard 4’8½” and realised that many of the more exotic ones were in the UK but also realised that there were a few obvious ones that I have missed.  The following is to the best of my recollection including funiculars which always throw some spice in the mix. As we are in GWR country, let’s start at the top:-

7’0¼”   Didcot broad gauge
5’3”      Victorian Railways
5'2½"   New Orleans streetcars**
1520 mm   Russian gauge
3’9”      Lynmouth Cliff
3’6”      Southern Africa, Snaefell & Oz
1000 mm   East Africa
3’0”      Isle of Man
800 mm   Snowden
2'6"      RSA mine transport*
750 mm   Diakofto–Kalavryta
2’3”      Talylynn
2’0”      RSA narrow-gauge
1’11½”   Ffestiniog, etc.
21”      Blackpool Pleasure Beach
19”      Laxey Mines
15”      Ravenglas, et al.
7¼”      Leyland ME
5”      Leyland ME

So 19 as far as I can tell. One UK example I have missed featured in Graham’s Advent quiz. What other exotics have the Coffee Shop diaspora bagged?

*My earliest commuter train and a bit rough it was too. IETs and 387s luxurious
** 21:58; A new broad gauge discovery previously bagged unknown at the the time.  Thanks OTC - see below
« Last Edit: December 26, 2019, 09:59:07 pm by Oxonhutch » Logged
JontyMort
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 05:31:06 pm »


<snip>

So 17 as far as I can tell. One UK example I have missed featured in Graham’s Advent quiz. What other exotics have the Coffee Shop diaspora bagged?


How about Iberian gauge?
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 05:41:46 pm »


<snip>

So 17 as far as I can tell. One UK example I have missed featured in Graham’s Advent quiz. What other exotics have the Coffee Shop diaspora bagged?


How about Iberian gauge?

I believe that's the quoted 5'3" "Victorian Gauge" and still used in Ireland (which featured in the quiz). I do have old data but won't just dump it here - see what else people come up with.   Memory when I first saw this thread reminded me of the Cairngorm funicular, and horse drawn wagonways near Plymouth.

And what is the "gauge" of a guided busway?
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JontyMort
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2019, 05:48:51 pm »


<snip>

So 17 as far as I can tell. One UK example I have missed featured in Graham’s Advent quiz. What other exotics have the Coffee Shop diaspora bagged?


How about Iberian gauge?

I believe that's the quoted 5'3" "Victorian Gauge" and still used in Ireland (which featured in the quiz). I do have old data but won't just dump it here - see what else people come up with.   Memory when I first saw this thread reminded me of the Cairngorm funicular, and horse drawn wagonways near Plymouth.

And what is the "gauge" of a guided busway?

Iberian is just shy of 5' 6". I hadn't realised until I googled it that historically it was slightly different in Spain and Portugal - but close enough to permit through running. The gauges were 1672 mm and 1664 mm respectively, standardised to 1668 nominal in 1955.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2019, 06:35:30 pm »

Yes, the Iberian gauge of 5'5½" is not one of my bagged gauges, and neither is Grahame's Clockwork Orange, Britain's narrow-gauge public underground railway - the Glasgow Subway - at 4'0".

Has anyone ridden the Toronto subway or streetcar system?

Corrected by half an inch once it was pointed out that the Indian gauge is truly 5'6" and thus the king of all running today - apparently
« Last Edit: December 26, 2019, 08:39:21 pm by Oxonhutch » Logged
eightonedee
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2019, 07:53:53 pm »

I can claim Indian broad gauge (not a campaigner for curries on new Inter City rolling stock!) which is 5ft 6in.

I have no idea if any funicular systems, undergrounds or trams that I have ridden can add to your list, though.
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JontyMort
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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2019, 07:57:15 pm »

Yes, the Iberian gauge of 5'6" is not one of my bagged gauges, and neither is Grahame's Clockwork Orange, Britain's narrow-gauge public underground railway - the Glasgow Subway - at 4'0".

Has anyone riden the Toronto subway or streetcar system?

Another non-standard city system is the Bay Area Rapid Transit in and around San Francisco, which is 5' 6". Whether this is to permit through running to Spain is not clear, but why would anyone design a ground-up system as recently as the 1970s with a non-standard gauge?
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2019, 08:24:18 pm »

Another non-standard city system is the Bay Area Rapid Transit in and around San Francisco, which is 5' 6". Whether this is to permit through running to Spain is not clear, but why would anyone design a ground-up system as recently as the 1970s with a non-standard gauge?

To maintain a monopoly for the rolling stock  Grin . Built by the taxpayer and they wanted to maintain their monopoly - see ((here}} - beware, advert infested link.

Quote
Nonstandard gauge and rails created the BART monopoly and preserved the taxpayer dollars to fund it in perpetuity.

BART was originally designed to use standard gauge rails. The BART planners switched to nonstandard gauge to ensure that only custom manufactured BART trains could use BART infrastructure.

On the same basis, HS2 will be built to a gauge of 5'9" - they would have chosen 5'6" but are afraid of being bought out by the San Francisco folks.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2019, 08:36:10 pm »

And what is the "gauge" of a guided busway?

The UK standard looks like 2600 mm. So at just over 8½ feet, Grahame takes the 'wide-boy' biscuit !
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onthecushions
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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2019, 08:48:21 pm »

Do New Orleans streetcars count?

They are 1588mm/5'2.5" gauge.

As said, Indian Railways (broad gauge) are 1676mm/5'6", the Iberian are c1/8"/8mm less.

Irish railways are 1600mm/5'3"

OTC
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broadgage
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2019, 09:22:42 pm »

And hitler allegedly had plans for an extensive railway system with a 3 meter gauge, or nearly 10 feet. AFAIK none was actually built.
That sort of width would permit of 3+3+3 seating in standard and 2+2+2 in first class, or sleepers with a central corridor and transverse beds each side thereof.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
bignosemac
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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2019, 07:11:10 am »

Some I've ridden on:

Volks Electric Railway, Brighton. 2'8½" (825mm).
Seaton Tramway. 2'9" (838mm).
Babbacombe Cliff Railway. 5'8" (1726mm).
North Cliff Lift, Scarborough. 6'6" (1980mm). Now closed.
St Nicholas Cliff Lift, Scarborough. 7'6" (2286mm). Now closed.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 07:21:34 am by bignosemac » Logged

onthecushions
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2019, 11:17:52 am »

And hitler allegedly had plans for an extensive railway system with a 3 meter gauge, or nearly 10 feet. AFAIK none was actually built.
That sort of width would permit of 3+3+3 seating in standard and 2+2+2 in first class, or sleepers with a central corridor and transverse beds each side thereof.

But we've always packed 'em in at that density in the UK with only standard gauge!

He should have asked us.

OTC
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eightf48544
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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2019, 11:42:47 am »

When GB made things many of the private  loco works would have had mixed gauged tracks for building locos to various gauges.
 
I've just come across he Levantine Gauge of 3' 5⅜" (1.05m) gauge in a book by Colin Garrett. Should have been metre but the sleeper manufacturer mucked it up.

750mm  has been mentioned it was also the standard Saxon Narrow Gauge whilst 760 was Austro Hungary.

The Molli Bahn is 900mm.

Isn't there also supposed to be some Brunel Broad Gauge track on a breakwater in the Azores?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 12:34:11 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged
Worcester_Passenger
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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2019, 05:08:43 pm »

Glasgow trams used the slightly odd gauge of 4 ft 7 3⁄4 in (1,416 mm), so as to allow standard gauge goods wagons to run on their flanges in the track grooves.
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