16 Facts About Track gauge


In rail transport, track gauge is the distance between the two rails of a railway track.

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Term derives from the metal bar, or Track gauge, that is used to ensure the distance between the rails is correct.

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Railways were still seen as local concerns: there was no appreciation of a future connection to other lines, and selection of the track gauge was still a pragmatic decision based on local requirements and prejudices, and probably determined by existing local designs of vehicles.

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Track gauge's designs were so successful that they became the standard, and when the Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened in 1825, it used his locomotives, with the same gauge as the Killingworth line, .

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The broad Track gauge network was eventually converted—a progressive process completed in 1892, called Track gauge conversion.

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Standard Track gauge is dominant in a majority of countries, including those in North America, most of western Europe, North Africa and the Middle east, and in China.

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Broad Track gauge is the dominant Track gauge in countries in Indian subcontinent, the former Soviet Union, Mongolia and Finland, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Chile and Ireland.

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Term "medium Track gauge" had different meanings throughout history, depending on the local dominant Track gauge in use.

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Narrow Track gauge is the dominant or second dominant Track gauge in countries of Southern, Central Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Central America and South America,.

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Many narrow Track gauge railways were built in mountainous regions such as Wales, the Rocky Mountains of North America, Central Europe and South America.

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Nominal track gauge is the distance between the inner faces of the rails.

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Narrow Track gauge is thus often used in mountainous terrain, where the savings in civil engineering work can be substantial.

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For temporary railways which will be removed after short-term use, such as those used in logging, mining or large-scale construction projects, a narrow-Track gauge railway is substantially cheaper and easier to install and remove.

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In many countries, narrow-Track gauge railways were built as branch lines to feed traffic to standard-Track gauge lines due to lower construction costs.

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Broader Track gauge railways are generally more expensive to build, because they are usually heavier in construction, use larger cars and locomotives, as well as larger bridges, larger tunnels .

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Current plans have mechanized facilities at the breaks of Track gauge to move containers from train to train rather than widespread Track gauge conversion.

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