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Standard Railway Gauge


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#1 Scarlett

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 07:06 AM

My Dad sent this to me. :thumbsup: I thought that I would share it with y'all.


Standard Railway Gauge

Does the statement, "We've always done it that way" ring any bells? ... read to the end... it was a new one for me

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 U.S. 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 butt :flowers: 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' 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 butt.

..... and you thought being a HORSE'S BUTT wasn't important! :trumpet:
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#2 Exspider

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 09:27 AM

I think your father has a good sense of humor also Scarlett!
I knew there was an answer for everything....... :thumbsup:
Your friends and the numbers all add up, we're just here to count them.......
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#3 Scarlett

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:02 AM

I think your father has a good sense of humor also Scarlett!
I knew there was an answer for everything....... :thumbsup:

Yes he does! He is just an old fashioned cornball. :flowers:
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#4 Pandy

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:57 AM

Scarlett. your Dad makes me laugh out loud .. how interesting. hahaha!

Has he got anymore good stuff?

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.

Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?

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#5 KoanYorel

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:16 AM

Great analogy. Thanks for sharing it.

(Now I wonder about... why some vehicles are built with "Pony" sized seats and still
take up the whole roadway? But that's a whole other story, I guess.)

:thumbsup:
The only easy day was yesterday.

...some do, some don't; some will, some won't (WR)

#6 yano

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 11:20 PM

:thumbsup: That is awsome. Who knew something simple like a horse's butt, could influence the design of the SRB? :flowers:

Keep them coming Scarlett.




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