The US standard railroad gauge is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Discussion in 'MKJ Off-Topic' started by TheRealAirbns, Nov 6, 2019.

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  2. TheRealAirbns

    TheRealAirbns Junior Member


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    The US standard railroad gauge is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

    The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?

    Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US Railroads.

    Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

    Why did “they” use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

    Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

    Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

    So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

    And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

    The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for! an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever

    So the next time you are handed a spec and told we have always done it that way and wonder what horse’s ass came up with that, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

    Now the twist to the story…

    When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.

    The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is bout as wide as two horses’ behinds.

    So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.

    And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important.

    https://aviationhumor.net/the-us-standard-railroad-gauge-is-4-feet-8-5-inches/
     
  3. 901 Club

    901 Club Junior Member

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    And why an Iowa class battleship had a beam of 108 feet?

    Because the Panama Canal had a width of just 110 feet.
     
  4. holt7153

    holt7153 Junior Member


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    When referring to lumber why is a "2 x 4" actually 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches?

    It used to be but as the drying/smoothing technology improved it shrunk the wood down to 1 5/8" x 3 5/8" and currently it's 1.5" x 3.5" for easier naming and measurement.
     
  5. DJ4SC

    DJ4SC Junior Member


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    AND EPSTEIN DIDN'T KILL HIMSELF....
     
  6. norcalsurfer

    norcalsurfer Points Member


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    yup and the Japanese navy took note that every US ship had to be 110 feet wide or less in order to transit the Panama Canal during WW2. So in response they built battleships in a massive size that in theory the US couldn’t match, Yamato and Musashi, unless the US compromised beam size in the new battleships/carriers.

    The canal ending up being widened after the war ended if I’m not mistaken.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  7. 901 Club

    901 Club Junior Member

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    Yes, and much after the War if we're talking about the "Third Set of Locks" project, where commercial operation began in 2016.

    The expansion allows new ships, called New Panamax, about one and a half times the previous Panamax size and carrying more than twice as much cargo, to cross the isthmus.
     
  8. DJ4SC

    DJ4SC Junior Member


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    And will be run by China.
     
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  9. IETrojanFan

    IETrojanFan Junior Member


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    "For want of a nail..."

    Great history lesson, TRA! I love these little-known history facts.
     
  10. TKnight

    TKnight Junior Member


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    #12
    Rail road width was based on horse drawn carriage axle / wheel width.
     
  11. TheRealAirbns

    TheRealAirbns Junior Member


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    Yes, it was.

    You didn't read the article, did you?
     
  12. fansincemckay

    fansincemckay Points Member


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    So do I. SOLID gold nuggets.
     
  13. Jim McNeil

    Jim McNeil Points Member


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    Part of China's imperialistic plan the fucktard is so enamored with.
     
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  14. norcalsurfer

    norcalsurfer Points Member


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    Speaking of railroad gauges, wasn't a minor reason why Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, failed was because the Nazi trains ran on a smaller railroad gauge which meant they had to capture Soviet wagons and locomotives to use the Soviet Union rail network.
     

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