Our Railway Gauge

The place to discuss national transport issues.
Forum rules
Please be courteous and factual. Remember that it is entirely normal for others to disagree with you. Forum moderators reserve the right to restrict access in the event of offensive behaviour.
No commercial postings. This will result in user deletion.
Please stay on topic and remind other contributors to stay on topic.
No gratuitous profanity. "Gratuitous" is decided on a case by case basis.
Please report posts that you consider offensive instead of posting about it in the topic. Any comments regarding moderation should be confined to About This Forum.

Our Railway Gauge

Postby geoff_184 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:57 am

An interesting read, written in 1928...

Our Railway Gauge

(By the Right Hon. Sir Robert Stout , P.C., K.C.M.G., LL.D., M.L.C.)

There has been of late some talk regarding the railway gauge that New Zealand adopted in 1870. In the early days of railways in the Dominion we had two gauges. Auckland and Otago, which now includes Southland, had railways with a gauge of 4ft. 8 ½ in., whilst Canterbury made its first line in the 5ft. 3in. gauge. The Public Works policy of 1870, which was to rule all subsequent railway construction in New Zealand, chose 3ft. 6in. as the gauge best suited to our requirements, and that policy in regard to gauge has been carried out throughout our Dominion. (The railway lines made by the provinces have all been changed to the narrow gauge mentioned.)

Before the 3ft. 6in gauge was adopted there was much public discussion on the question. Meetings were held and many supporters of the existing (wider) provincial gauges advocated their retention. The opinion of one of our legislators, the Hon. J. C. Richmond, had a great effect in getting the 3ft. 6in. gauge adopted. He was a railway engineer and he had been in the service of the French Government in Algiers. His services were much thought of by the French Government. In urging the adoption of this narrow gauge it was pointed out that we were a small community. Our population was, according to the census return of February, 1871, only 256,393 people, excluding our Maoris.

Sir Julius Vogel, who was the father of our new railway policy, urged that we must have long lines of railway and at a relatively small expenditure of money. His policy was that we must have cheap railways, and, as population increased and money became more plentiful, we could increase the equipment of our lines. He Has often been blamed for his extravagance, but so far as his railway policy was concerned, he was careful and economical. As one who was not of his political party—Mr. Gisborne—said of him: “The grasp of his mind was comprehensive, and his foresight was great; and, wild as some of his conceptions seemed to many at first, not a few have proved themselves to contain much that is useful and statesman like.” Sir Julius Vogel did not think it necessary to follow the example of England, or of Australia, so far as railway gauges were concerned. (Even in England since 1870, some railway lines have had their gauges lessened, and in Queensland the 3ft. 6in. gauge has been adopted.)

Viewing what has happened during the past 58 years it will be granted that New Zealand was wise in adopting the moderate gauge it chose. We have improved, as our revenue has increased, the equipment of our railways, in carriages, engines, station buildings, workshops, and so forth. It is true that our recent line have been more elaborately and consequently, more expensively constructed. Had, however, the policy of 1870 not been followed, we would not to-day possess the mileage of lines we have.

What has taken place in Australia in connection with railway gauges may be a lesson to us. There are, in that great Continent, several railway systems, Federal, State and private lines, and the gauges vary from 1ft. 8in. to 5ft. 3in. The length of the lines and gauges may be mentioned. page 11 In 1925 there were 5,775 miles of 5ft. 3in. gauge, 7,023 miles of 4ft. 8 ½in, 14,263 miles of 3ft. 6in., 24 miles of 3ft., 164 miles of 2ft. 6in., 3 miles of 2ft. 3in., 1,146 miles of 2ft., and a small line 35 miles long of lft. 8in. gauge. [The small gauge lines are private lines.] The Federal lines are of two gauges, there being 1,056 miles of 4ft. 8 ½in. gauge and 676 miles of. 3ft. 6in. gauge. Victoria has 4,537 miles of 5ft. 3in. gauge, and New South Wales 5,956 miles of 4ft. 8 ½in. gauge. South Australia has three gauges, viz., 1237 miles of 5ft. 3in. gauge, 597 miles of 4ft. 8 ½in., and 1,772 miles of 3ft. 6in. Queensland lines are mostly of 3ft. 6in. gauge, there being 6,578 miles of railway in that State thus laid down. Western Australia, too, has the greater portion of its lines laid down in the 3ft. 6in. gauge, though it has 453 miles of 4ft. 8 ½in gauge railway.

In view of the increasing motor competition which faces our Australian cousins (as it does ourselves and the railroaders of almost every other country), the frequently discussed plan of railway gauge unification in Australia may need considerable modification.

[According to the findings of the Royal Commission which dealt with the matter in 1921, the estimated cost of converting all the lines to the 4ft. 8½in. in the Australian States was given as approximately £57,200,000.]

In South Africa one universal gauge has not been adopted. Some years ago one branch line in Natal, namely, the Stuartson line, which runs from Esperanza on the Umzinto branch of the South Coast Railway to Donnybrook on the Cape-Natal line, was built with a gauge of two feet. The cost was small. The line is 95 miles in length and it cost about £3,200 a mile. The construction and equipment of this railway barely exceeded £300,000.

The competition of motors with our railways is a transport problem for us that must be solved satisfactorily both for rail and motor. Our highways in New Zealand are being improved. We have now many miles of concrete roads and roads formed with smooth surfaces. We have also, unfortunately, on these and on our other highways (because of too quickly running motor cars and carelessly managed machines), very numerous accidents. The sacrifice of human life causes us concern. What will have to be done? Will we have to limit our motors to special roads? We have special footpaths in cities for pedestrians; will it ever be necessary to have certain streets or roads set apart for pedestrians or slow moving vehicles, into which thoroughfares no motor or machine-driven conveyance is admitted? Will conveyance in the air be so increased that even motors will be hard pressed to withstand competition in that direction? Who can predict the changes that will have to come regarding our transport of men and goods? But this we know: We are better off as a people than our pioneers or even the settlers in the seventies. However, we must “walk warily” and economise in expenditure in all our Government departments if we wish to see our Dominion progress.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/NewZealandLocomotives/
User avatar
geoff_184
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 7943
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:51 am
Location: Swansonville

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby john-ston » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:06 am

The bigger mistake made by Vogel was in having such a restrictive loading gauge; that loading gauge has since needed to be modified several times in order to allow for larger rolling stock. The first instance I believe was in the early 20th Century, the second instance was in the 1950s and 1960s to allow for the Das and more recently, to allow for modern containers.
john-ston
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 16326
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Jonthekiwi » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:26 am

For once I agree with your statement JJ, Vogel should have known better that DA's and containers would have required a larger loading gauge.
Jonthekiwi
Railfan
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 11:34 am

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Chris Randal » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:10 am

Jonthekiwi wrote:For once I agree with your statement JJ, Vogel should have known better that DA's and containers would have required a larger loading gauge.


:D :D :D
Chris Randal
Daily PT User
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:07 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby nztransportgeography » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:19 am

Jonthekiwi wrote:For once I agree with your statement JJ, Vogel should have known better that DA's and containers would have required a larger loading gauge.

hahaha
Patrick Dunford
http://enzedtransport.blogspot.com/
nztransportgeography
Trainee Transport Geek
 
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:59 am
Location: Christchurch, NZ

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby john-ston » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:24 pm

Jonthekiwi wrote:For once I agree with your statement JJ, Vogel should have known better that DA's and containers would have required a larger loading gauge.


Maybe Vogel would not have foreseen Das and containers, but he should have foreseen that having a very tight loading gauge would cause problems in the future.
john-ston
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 16326
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby geoff_184 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:43 pm

Why would he? Our loading gauge was about as good as the motherland, and it served us well for over a century. He couldn't possibly know about high cubes, anymore than anyone knows today what we'll need a hundred years from now.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/NewZealandLocomotives/
User avatar
geoff_184
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 7943
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:51 am
Location: Swansonville

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Chris Randal. » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:18 pm

geoff_184 wrote:Why would he? Our loading gauge was about as good as the motherland, and it served us well for over a century. He couldn't possibly know about high cubes, anymore than anyone knows today what we'll need a hundred years from now.


I ignored it Geoff, because the statement was so patently stupid.

And in fact I would say that this link might apply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)
Campaign for the independent state of Auckland.
Chris Randal.
Certified Trainspotter
 
Posts: 4410
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:50 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Nick R » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:33 pm

flange wrote:And in fact I would say that this link might apply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)


Or this one by the looks of things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome
I should still listen to Doloras.
User avatar
Nick R
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 7344
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:08 pm
Location: Halfway between K Rd station and Newton station.

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Chris Randal. » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:43 pm

Nick R wrote:
flange wrote:And in fact I would say that this link might apply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)


Or this one by the looks of things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome


I thought that had already been established?
Campaign for the independent state of Auckland.
Chris Randal.
Certified Trainspotter
 
Posts: 4410
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:50 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby john-ston » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:33 pm

Nick R wrote:Or this one by the looks of things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome


Nick, I don't have any form of disease - luckily for you, I am very thick skinned, so I'll leave it be.

geoff_184 wrote:Why would he? Our loading gauge was about as good as the motherland, and it served us well for over a century. He couldn't possibly know about high cubes, anymore than anyone knows today what we'll need a hundred years from now.


But it was not as good as the other colonies, namely the Cape Colony, Canada, nor the Australian colonies.

Furthermore, I am pretty sure that the United Kingdom would have had a fairly generous loading gauge, especially along Brunel's 7 foot gauge lines.
john-ston
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 16326
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Jonthekiwi » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:48 pm

Oh JJ - you do make me laugh sometimes.
Jonthekiwi
Railfan
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 11:34 am

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Nick R » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:04 pm

Erm, I think having very thick skin counts as a disease, some form of dermatitis I guess! :)

If I'm not mistaken brunel's loading gauge was so wide the twin track bridges on the great western line were converted to four standard gauge tracks without any modification to the structures.
I should still listen to Doloras.
User avatar
Nick R
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 7344
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:08 pm
Location: Halfway between K Rd station and Newton station.

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby dpalenski » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:55 am

Nick R wrote:
flange wrote:And in fact I would say that this link might apply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)


Or this one by the looks of things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome


Finally someone agrees with me and Jodi it's not disease it's neurological disorder and the part of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders.Named after the name Austrian man who discovered this mild condition he also called Autism and discovered around the same time during WWII as an American who discovered what we now call classic Autism which is more serve form.So due to history the work of Mr Asperger wasn't translated into English until the late 80's and then becoming an official medical condition until 1994.So therefore a lot of people have slipped through over the many decades including myself wasn't diagnosed until late last year so it's never to late and nothing to be ashamed of it's explains why do the things you do and why we're great at what we do and not talking about the stuff other people talk about in the smoko room. :D
Oh Sun you grow my food and you kill my enemies, your totality worth the skin cancer - Son Goku

The Gray ghost,Iron paw strikes again!! - The Dog
User avatar
dpalenski
Railfan
 
Posts: 1816
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:56 pm
Location: Sunnynook via Totaravale

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby JohnE in Scotland » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:30 am

john-ston wrote:Furthermore, I am pretty sure that the United Kingdom would have had a fairly generous loading gauge, especially along Brunel's 7 foot gauge lines.


Simply not true. The UK loading gauge is not much different to NZ's. As you all know, NZ loading gauge has been progressively improved. Operation of the Mk2 coaches is testimony to that. Clearances are very tight in Britain, a legacy of being railway developers, and have since been pushed to the limit. One of the major constraints is the "Six Foot" dimension, which is the standard distance between double track measured across the back edge of the rails. On a standard Six Foot passing passenger trains have 0.7 metres clearance, which is why some stock takes on a lean, especially at 125 mph. The centre line dimension is 3.4 metres, less than NZ double lines. South Africa has a bigger loading gauge, for example the Class 25 steam locomotives are 3.0 metres wide. France, where British engineers had a strong influence in early railway construction, is larger than Britain, but most of the rest of Europe is larger still.

Brunel failed to take advantage of his track gauge in setting the GWR loading gauge. His bridges and tunnels are of similar dimensions to the other routes being built at the time. Don't be fooled by pictures of his tunnels. The mouths were made larger simply as a reassuarnce to passengers that they weren't about to be squashed. Suffocated maybe. The internal tunnels are much smaller. The main benefit, that came about when the GWR was converted to Standard gauge, is that generally the near "Up" and "Down" rails were moved away from each other, widening the gap by 1.4 metres. In places this has been eroded over time, but it provides a safety margin particularly when "single line working" is in operation. Gauge conversion certainly didn't provide space for additional tracks, unless associated with solum widening.
JohnE in Scotland
Trainee Transport Geek
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:48 am

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby john-ston » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:52 am

nzbcfanboi wrote:Finally someone agrees with me and Jodi it's not disease it's neurological disorder and the part of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders.Named after the name Austrian man who discovered this mild condition he also called Autism and discovered around the same time during WWII as an American who discovered what we now call classic Autism which is more serve form.So due to history the work of Mr Asperger wasn't translated into English until the late 80's and then becoming an official medical condition until 1994.So therefore a lot of people have slipped through over the many decades including myself wasn't diagnosed until late last year so it's never to late and nothing to be ashamed of it's explains why do the things you do and why we're great at what we do and not talking about the stuff other people talk about in the smoko room. :D


Again, I would point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.

JohnE in Scotland wrote:Simply not true. The UK loading gauge is not much different to NZ's. As you all know, NZ loading gauge has been progressively improved. Operation of the Mk2 coaches is testimony to that. Clearances are very tight in Britain, a legacy of being railway developers, and have since been pushed to the limit. One of the major constraints is the "Six Foot" dimension, which is the standard distance between double track measured across the back edge of the rails.


Although has the British loading gauge required modification at least three times?

JohnE in Scotland wrote:South Africa has a bigger loading gauge, for example the Class 25 steam locomotives are 3.0 metres wide. France, where British engineers had a strong influence in early railway construction, is larger than Britain, but most of the rest of Europe is larger still.


And if one remembers, the Cape Colony was not exactly swimming in money in the 1860s either. Neither was the Colony of Queensland.
john-ston
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 16326
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Nick R » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:14 pm

john-ston wrote:Again, I would point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.


Again? You know repetitive behaviour is one of the symptoms of Aspergers :lol:
I should still listen to Doloras.
User avatar
Nick R
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 7344
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:08 pm
Location: Halfway between K Rd station and Newton station.

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Chris Randal. » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:16 pm

Nick R wrote:
john-ston wrote:Again, I would point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.


Again? You know repetitive behaviour is one of the symptoms of Aspergers :lol:


I like my explanation better - troll!
Campaign for the independent state of Auckland.
Chris Randal.
Certified Trainspotter
 
Posts: 4410
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:50 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby john-ston » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:18 pm

flange wrote:I like my explanation better - troll!


Or my own explanation - the truth - Vogel might have had some vision, but he failed to secure a decent loading gauge for New Zealand in spite of what was going on in other colonies at the time. That decision has had some severe consequences for New Zealand in the years since, as huge amounts of money have needed to be spent on expanding tunnels over the years.
john-ston
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 16326
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Our Railway Gauge

Postby Nick R » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:29 pm

Thats ridiculous, he built an affordable and very effective system for the needs of the day.

It would be like moaning that Govenor Gray failed to secure a decent road gauge becuase he built the Great South Road as a carriage track instead of a six lane interurban motorway that can meet the needs modern freight trucks.
I should still listen to Doloras.
User avatar
Nick R
Uber Transit Geek
 
Posts: 7344
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:08 pm
Location: Halfway between K Rd station and Newton station.

Next

Return to Nationwide Transport Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests