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Posted: 2/9/2006 7:07:53 PM EDT
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 specification and wonder what “horse's ass” came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman army 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 at 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 about as wide as two horses' asses.

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.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:09:55 PM EDT
I've heard that before, I always wondered how much truth there is to it.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:10:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
I've heard that before, I always wondered how much truth there is to it.



I'm pretty sure we're about to find out LOL
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:11:53 PM EDT
Interesting. I wounder if it is true.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:13:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jrzy:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
I've heard that before, I always wondered how much truth there is to it.



I'm pretty sure we're about to find out LOL



snopes anyone? im too lazy
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:15:38 PM EDT
http://www.snopes.com/history/american/gauge.htm


30 seconds on snopes. common guys you can do better that that
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:17:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DeadSled:

Originally Posted By jrzy:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
I've heard that before, I always wondered how much truth there is to it.



I'm pretty sure we're about to find out LOL



snopes anyone? im too lazy

+1 me too
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:18:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sprayandpray:
http://www.snopes.com/history/american/gauge.htm


30 seconds on snopes. common guys you can do better that that



I would have done it but I'm busy uploading a shit ton of gun, target and survival files.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 3:32:11 PM EDT
jrzy - are you ever going to get a clue and stop posting every single piece of crap that pops up in your inbox? Sheesh.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 3:43:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/10/2006 3:45:23 PM EDT by jrzy]

Originally Posted By JavaMan:
jrzy - are you ever going to get a clue and stop posting every single piece of crap that pops up in your inbox? Sheesh.



Yeah when you start donating to the site.

Edited to add:
If you see my name as a topic starter just skip it slick.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 3:46:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JavaMan:
jrzy - are you ever going to get a clue and stop posting every single piece of crap that pops up in your inbox? Sheesh.



+1 Fuck, this ones only like what, 8 years old? No accounting for common sense, George Carlin must get so much hate mail.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 3:50:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jrzy:

Originally Posted By JavaMan:
jrzy - are you ever going to get a clue and stop posting every single piece of crap that pops up in your inbox? Sheesh.



Yeah when you start donating to the site.

Edited to add:
If you see my name as a topic starter just skip it slick.



I've been on the road since dawn today hauling 3,000 pounds of stuffed U-Haul trailer behind my Xterra through Utah and I'm bushed.

Your post made me laugh jrzy.

Keep it up.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 3:50:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jrzy:
If you see my name as a topic starter just skip it slick.



Link Posted: 2/10/2006 3:50:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DukeSnookems:

Originally Posted By JavaMan:
jrzy - are you ever going to get a clue and stop posting every single piece of crap that pops up in your inbox? Sheesh.



+1 Fuck, this ones only like what, 8 years old? No accounting for common sense, George Carlin must get so much hate mail.



Gee you logged out of your java man nic pretty quick.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 4:05:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jrzy:
Gee you logged out of your java man nic pretty quick.




With these uptight cranky moderators you just can't have too many troll accounts.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 4:35:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JavaMan:

Originally Posted By jrzy:
Gee you logged out of your java man nic pretty quick.




With these uptight cranky moderators you just can't have too many troll accounts.



And what I meant by this post was that JavaMan is my troll account. This is my deadly serious account. Moderators, please feel free to delete my Javaman account JK!! Don't dele.....*fwap*
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 4:58:17 PM EDT
The above is not true!!

Most southern railways used 5'0" guage tracks and that did not change until after the civil war.

It did not change because the North won, it changed because the Three railroads with the biggest access to the Major Eastern ports, The Baltimore and Ohio, Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central all used 4'8.5" guage rail so to tie into each other to transport the Goods being built during the burgoning Industrial Age and get the stuff to the Port cities they ahd to standardize and they all agreed on what is now called "Standard Guage".

The Pennsylvania Railroad is the one who really got everyone gogin on the same page with standardizing Railroad equipment, Guages, Signal devices, Types of locomotives etc.

This is why the Pennsylvania Railroad was known as the "Standard Railroad of the world".

During the same time period the average rail guage in Europe was 6'0" They too later started using American Standard Guage rails due to U.S influence from managers who went over there to build their railroads.

Some hold out Shortlines and regionals, Loggin roads etc, stayed with various Narrow guage rails,



Link Posted: 2/10/2006 5:29:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 5:32:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
I've heard that before, I always wondered how much truth there is to it.



None according to my Classics profs.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 5:43:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TRW:
images.alibris.com/isbn/1/5/5/9/2/1559270667.gif



Great Show!!
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