View Full Version : Educational Spam

07-02-2005, 17:51:28
The US railroad gauge is 4 feet 8-1/2 inches - very odd number by any standards. Why is that gauge used? Gauge is the distance between the two rails. Because that was the gauge used in England and the US railroads were built by the English. Ok, so why did the English build the railroads of this awkward dimension? Because that was the gauge that tramways used, before they were ousted by the railroads, and tramway makers made the railroads, too. Then why did the tramways use this gauge of strange dimensions? Because the tramways succeeded the animal-drawn carts, whose wagons had this dimension. And why did the wagons of animal-drawn carts have this dimension? Because, in those days when metal roads did not exist, ruts were formed on dust road, by frequently moving chariots & carts. Ruts are furrows made by wheels, very difficult to deviate from, without damage to axle &
chassis. So, what made the ruts of such strange dimension? Well, this is history. Roman army of over 5 thousand traveled in England with war chariots, all of which had this strange dimension - years ago. And for this strange dimension, here is the answer. The Romans believed that the horses in the chariots should be given just enough space to run. More width would make them stray and wobble the chariot. The chariot was therefore made with dimensions to accommodate two horses - snug fit, side by side, within the wooden frame. This dimension led to a wheel gauge of 4 feet 8-1/2 inches - strange dimension!

The story now takes a new twist. We saw how 4 feet 8-1/2 inches became the standard for US railroad gauges. In modern times, sophisticated space travel is made possible by rockets. The rockets are assisted by booster rockets. These booster rockets burn solid fuel and are made by Thiokol in Utah. Scientists may like the booster rocket diameter to be widened for releasing larger force with combustion. But the booster rockets are transported by railroad from the factory to the launch-pad. The railroad line runs through a long tunnel in the mountains. The tunnel is just wide enough to allow passage to the railroad wagon at slow pace. This railroad line also has the same odd dimension. So, a major design feature of the modern world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's back

This cannot be changed.

I trash the majority of this junk, but this one was interesting, even though I doubt its entirely true.

07-02-2005, 17:59:32

What an exciting Monday this is!


07-02-2005, 18:02:03

A very nerdy rebuttal on why the US uses 4' 8" 1/2 inch rail.

...The other aspect of this standardization urban legend that is pure fiction is the suggestion that the standard track gauge in the U.S. has always been 4 feet 8-1/2 inches. At the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861, there were more than 20 different railroad track gauges in the U.S. ranging from 3 feet to 6 feet. In fact, 5 feet was by far the most prevalent gauge in the South , so if the Confederacy had won the war, the standard size in the U.S. might be different today. The table below shows some of the variety of gauges in the U.S. and Canada at the beginning of 1861.

Track Gauge Miles of Railroad Track Percentage of Total Mileage
4 8-1/2 17,712 53.3
4 10 3,294 9.9
5 0 7,267 21.8
5 6 2,896 8.7
6 0 1,777 5.3
Others ------ 1.0

Probably more than any other single event, the American Civil War is why the U.S. has the one standard track gauge today. The Civil War was the first war in which railroads played an important part in transporting troops, equipment, and supplies. The variety of track gauges forced army units to unload and then reload cargo at the junction point between lines with different gauges. Such delays were inconvenient, expensive, and annoying for civilians during peacetime, but for an army to experience such delays sometimes meant the difference between victory and defeat...

07-02-2005, 20:14:17
where does the saying "stuck in a rut" come from

07-02-2005, 21:42:23
MDA, that bit about the rockets is BS.

They get transported by barges. ;)

07-02-2005, 21:59:32
Ohoh, I feel some verkanting information coming up.

07-02-2005, 22:01:55
Dramatic music

miester gandertak
07-02-2005, 22:03:12
verkanting rulesssssssssz

miester gandertak
07-02-2005, 22:06:49

07-02-2005, 22:09:22
so let's have it then

08-02-2005, 02:00:06
DS aren't they talking SRBs...