Prototype Question: Why narrow gauge?

I've been doing a fair amount of research here lately on the design of my next home layout, but a tangent question that came to mind was the why for a
narrow gauge?
I can't think of any good reasons off the top of my head, so I will put it to the brain trust in r.m.r.
Thanks.
Rick
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Rick wrote:
> I've been doing a fair amount of research here lately on the design > of my next home layout, but a tangent question that came to mind was > the why for a narrow gauge? > > I can't think of any good reasons off the top of my head, so I will > put it to the brain trust in r.m.r.
Lower cost of construction is the reason usually quoted. Narrower earthworks and sharper curves than standard gauge were possible, hence the lower construction cost.
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Mark Newton wrote:

True, but operation costs were underestimated. Transferring freight at break of gauge added costs, and since narrow gauge couldn't haul as much freight per car, the economies of scale just weren't there. Speeds were slower than standard gauge, so passenger traffic felt the competition from cars and buses sooner and more severely than standard gauge did. These factors are very obvious in the case of the Maine 2-footers, for example. The Colorado narrow gauge appears to be exception, but recall that a) they hauled a lot of gold and silver, ie, very high value freight; and b) it took a while for good roads to penetrate the mountains. These two factors saved the Colorado narrow gauge lines for a while.
However, I like narrow gauge very much indeed. :-)
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

Not much of that holds true for New Zealand. Wagons are much the same size as standard gauge. Speeds are much the same as standard gauge.
Our gauge is 3'6" (1067mm), loading gauge is fractionally smaller than British railways and speeds are around 100 Km/hr (60 mph)

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Well then, in your case 3' 6" really does not qualify as narrow gauge does it? That is to say, you don't interchange with railways of any other gauge, do you? In Oz, the Cane Toads, Mexicans and Cockroaches all run about on different gauges, so they have to struggle with narrow, standard and broad gauge, but in NZ you just have the one NZ standard gauge, correct? Since I do not remember whether you reside on the North Island or the South one, I will have to ask if you ski, and if you've been to the Alps this winter. Are they having a good season? Are there any web sites that show railway operations or railway pictures in and around Invercargill or Christchurch that you know of? The fellows over in Oz have some great websites with lots of photos and all kinds of railway information. What is there on NZ that you can share with the group?

Captain Handbrake
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Captain, Handbrake@Atlantic, Coast, Line.com wrote:

Of course it is narrow gauge - the specific gauge was chosen because most of NZ's terrain is mountainous. Standard gauge is about 33% larger so construction costs would have been about 75% greater (square both gauge figures to get a proportion) for the same load carrying capacity. Several of our lines would have been impossible to build at a cost our small population could have afforded.

Sure, there has in the past been a number of industrial lines. The main lines were nationalized in 1875 (from memory) and several lines were standard/broad gauge. (4'8 1/2" and 5'6")

That was one of the reasons for a national gauge policy - Canterbury lost it's lovely 5'6" gauge :-(

South Island - as far from main line railways as one can reasonably get :-(

No - I'm in a wheelchair.

Sure, I basically live on the Alpine chain.

Nahh, far too much snow!!!

Try NZR Gallery <http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~procter/GALLERY.HTM for a few of my photos.

You should find a few links on my web-page, but my interest is mostly Europe/worldwide as very little actually runs on the NZ tracks these days. Generally, in Chch the goods (container) trains are made up at Addington yard during the day and run after dark. The coal trains run a shuttle service from the West Coast to Lyttelton (the East Coast Chch port) about 8 times per day. Three passenger trains depart around 8 am (West Coast/Picton/Dunedin) and return circa 5pm. That's pretty well it! Invercargill would get one maximum weight goods train per day. There's a little local industry shunting each day from freezing works etc.
Opportunities for photographing around Chch are minimal and pretty boring for steam fans.
Now that WC has run our railways almost into the ground we can only hope that the combination of Toll (Aus) and the government will rejuvinate it.
Regards, Greg.P. Takaka.
(yeah, and I promise to update my website SOON)
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Gregory Procter wrote:
...snip my claim that higher operating costs of NG lines offset their lower construction costs...

UK loading gauge is undersized compared to the rest of the standard gauge world.
Passenger trains in the standard gauge world run considerably faster than 60mph these days. Trains in the UK Europe regularly run at 80-100mph, and reach about about 125mph on some routes some of the time. Even VIARail here in Canada, hampered by crappy track and having to give way to freight trains on many routes, manages to run some of its trains at 80mph+ the some of the time.
IMO, NZ has pushed NG to its limits, and done it very well, too. Just think what the NZ railways could do with an extra foot of gauge, and a world-class loading gauge... Um, they'd have trouble finding enough freight to carry, maybe? :-)
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> give way to freight trains on many routes, manages to run some of > its trains at 80mph+ the some of the time.
Something over 40 years ago I was riding in the cab of a Wabash passenger diesel with my great-uncle Glen McNutt, and we were making 84 mph between Huntington and Fort Wayne. I'm sure the average was much less, as it's a pretty sort run, as was the previous one from Wabash to Huntington.
--
Steve

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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:
> IMO, NZ has pushed NG to its limits, and done it very well, too.
Pig's arse they have. You want to see NG pushed to its limits, look elsewhere...
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One nation: Japan. A scheduled 160kph (100mph) service on 3'6" track ....
--
JB/NL < snipped-for-privacy@xs4all.nl>
If anyone asks me what I am, I will say I am myself.
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JB/NL wrote:
>>> IMO, NZ has pushed NG to its limits, and done it very well, too. >> >> Pig's arse they have. You want to see NG pushed to its limits, look >> elsewhere... > > One nation: Japan. A scheduled 160kph (100mph) service on 3'6" track > ....
That's what I keep telling him. :-)
We have something similar here in Australia.
http://www.downeredi.com/main.cfm?DivisionID=6&feMenuID 3&ProjectID4
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The gauge of 1067mm ( 3' 6") is not narrow gauge in Japan. It is the dominant gauge and thus qualifies as the Japanese standard gauge. The gauge of 1435mm is broad gauge in Japan.
The whole philosophical concept of "narrow gauge" is based upon the gauge being narrower than the dominant standard. Only a few lines operate on a gauge wider than 1067mm in Japan, which puts them in the minority. Apparently Japanese horses have smaller rear ends.

Captain Handbrake
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Captain, Handbrake@Atlantic, Coast, Line.com wrote:

The dominant world standard is 1435mm. In NZ we have to order "narrow gauge" (1067mm) versions of standard gauge locos. (1435mm)
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Captain Handbrake@Atlantic Coast Line.com wrote in

Uhm, not really.
The shinkansen network (bullet train network) runs on Standard Gauge track (1435mm) ....
Added to that, the Japanese /chose/ the 3'6" *narrow* gauge because they reasoned it was quicker to build and better suited to the local terrain (there's an excellent article on this at www.jrtr.net, unfortunately I lost the link)
Oh, and talking about pushing limits; there's talk that that 160kph service might go up to 180 in the near future ... of course, by that time the shinkansen line in that area is prboably finished so the whole issue becomes moot.

I wouldn't dare to call their high speed network anything but dominant; wherever one of those lines opens, the 1067mm lines all get sold off to third sector companies .. (private railways)
--
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Captain wrote:
> The gauge of 1067mm ( 3' 6") is not narrow gauge in Japan. It is the > dominant gauge and thus qualifies as the Japanese standard gauge. The > gauge of 1435mm is broad gauge in Japan.
Nice try. The various railway companies/operators in Japan all regard 3'6" as narrow gauge. If that's what they think, then I'll go along with them.
> The whole philosophical concept of "narrow gauge" is based upon the > gauge being narrower than the dominant standard. Only a few lines > operate on a gauge wider than 1067mm in Japan, which puts them in the > minority.
You need to read up on what gauges are used where in Japan, and then reconsider your position. There are many lines in Japan of greater gauge than 3'6"/1067mm...
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On Tue, 06 Jul 2004 17:06:15 +1000, Mark Newton
wrote:

There are a few. You want to spend a couple af days arguing about what "many" and "few" mean?

Captain Handbrake
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Captain Handbrake@Atlantic Coast Line.com wrote in wrote:

I wouldn't call the 3000+ (and expanding) kilometers of high speed rail few. Nor would I call the Kinki Nippon Railway network (one of the many large private railway companies operating in Japan) stretching between Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka and the Kii peninsula small. Nor would I dare to diss or otherwise call insignificant the number of 1435mm gauged tram networks in various cities in Japan. (Hakodate, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kagoshima and Takaoka spring to mind immediately - and I'm sure I've missed a lot of them) And remember, even the *Japanese* call the 3'6" network 'narrow gauge'.
Don't make these dangerous assumptions until you know more about the prototype.
--
JB/NL < snipped-for-privacy@xs4all.nl>
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Dangerous?
Captain Handbrake
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Captain Handbrake@Atlantic Coast Line.com wrote in

Yes, dangerous. You were making a very poorly informed assumption based on minimal, if any knowledge of what you were talking about. I consider that to be dangerous.
--
JB/NL < snipped-for-privacy@xs4all.nl>
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JB/NL wrote:
>>> Don't make these dangerous assumptions until you know more about >>> the prototype. >> >> Dangerous? > > Yes, dangerous. You were making a very poorly informed assumption > based on minimal, if any knowledge of what you were talking about. I > consider that to be dangerous.
I doubt that you'll get a result with this bloke, JB. I notice the last time he had his false claims debunked, he went very quiet.
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