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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/16/2001 7:11:36 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/16/2001 7:11:00 PM EST by M4]
The US standard railroad gauge (width between the two 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 the US railroads > > were built by English expatriates. > > > > 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? The > > first long distance roads in Europe (and > > England) were built by Imperial Rome for > > their legions. The roads have been used ever > > since. > > > > And the ruts in the roads? Roman war > > chariots first formed the initial ruts,which > > everyone else had to match for fear of > > destroying their wagon wheels. Since the > > chariots were made for (or by) Imperial > > Rome, they were all alike in the matter of > > wheel spacing. > > > > The United States standard railroad gauge of > > 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original > > specification for an Imperial Roman war > > chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies > > live forever. So the next time you are > > handed a specification and wonder what > > horse's ass came up with it, 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. > > Thus, we have the answer to the original > > question. > > > > Now the extra-terrestrial twist to the story. > > > > When we 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 might 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 had 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 is about as > > wide as two horses' behinds. > > > > So, the major 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 wonder why it's so hard to get ahead in this world...
Link Posted: 7/16/2001 8:20:31 PM EST
My dad is an engineer and his union magazine had this story in it. Simply amazing.
Link Posted: 7/16/2001 8:23:56 PM EST
I was expecting an autobiography. =P =P
Link Posted: 7/16/2001 9:07:41 PM EST
One of my favorites.
Link Posted: 7/17/2001 2:41:33 AM EST
Answer me this; How come you always see more horses asses than you do horses?
Link Posted: 7/17/2001 3:25:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By Halfcocked: Answer me this; How come you always see more horses asses than you do horses?
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LMAO From seeing video of DemocRAT fund raising events.
Link Posted: 7/17/2001 4:31:40 AM EST
I used to give presentations to specifying engineers. I always liked to include that story. Especially when they were refusing to change or amend their specifications to reflect individual situations.
Link Posted: 7/17/2001 4:47:06 AM EST
There were numerous rail gauges in use in the US when the railroads first came along. It got to the point where it was terribly inefficient because cargo had to be moved time and time again every time it crossed the line from one railline to another because the cars were of different gauges. A standard had to be achieved, and it made sense at the time to choose the standard of the major world power at the time. There are still narrow gauge lines in use in the US...such as the Alaskan line up North that used a narow gauge track because it is more efficient in rounding the mountains and used a smaller "footprint" for the railbed, meaning less material had to be blown off the cliff faces to create the rail bed. The original story is still pretty interesting, though.
Link Posted: 7/17/2001 4:59:12 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/17/2001 5:15:27 AM EST
nice ass on that horse
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