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  #1  
Old 06-30-2005, 10:38 AM
Franz Franz is offline
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Default Why, you ask WHY?

Railroads

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 as5 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 as5.


..... and you thought being a HORSE'S AS5 wasn't
important!
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2005, 10:56 AM
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Pile Buck Pile Buck is offline
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Well here we go again! Far be it from me to correct you! But I’ve been involved in setting some rails in my time. And they were a he!! of a lot father apart than any 4’-8 ½-inches. Try 100-feet
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  #3  
Old 06-30-2005, 11:25 AM
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grumpy grumpy is offline
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Distinguished Old Fart

After reading your post I was just wondering LMAO did you stay up late at night looking for this stuff? Some of your stuff is just funny, serious and true. On a brighter note I did know the width of a railroad track--worked for the old Penn Central RR, Maryland Division. Pile is just jealous he didn't beat you to the punch.
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Old 06-30-2005, 03:17 PM
Franz Franz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
Distinguished Old Fart

After reading your post I was just wondering LMAO did you stay up late at night looking for this stuff? Some of your stuff is just funny, serious and true. On a brighter note I did know the width of a railroad track--worked for the old Penn Central RR, Maryland Division. Pile is just jealous he didn't beat you to the punch.

That would have been the combined successor to the NY Central after they did the phoney Bankruptcy, and the Pennsy, before they did the phoney bankruptcy, and the GooburMunt gave us the appropriately named road, CONRAIL, one fo the biggest conn jobs ever put over on the public.

Grumpy, were you the reason for PenCentral going bust?
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Old 06-30-2005, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franz
Railroads

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.

Back in the early 90's I was working for the UK distributor for an American trenching machine maker.

They could never understand why we would complain that the biggest, heaviest machine that they made had such a hard time putting a 6 foot deep trench through a black-top road.

It was a little hard to explain what 2000 years of overlay could do to trencher chains.

They would send guys over from Head Office to stare into a 6 foot deep trench and see nothing but road construction right the way down. Sometimes with the original Roman granite cobbles there at the very bottom.

Got a lot to answer for, those Romans.


one_rod.
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Old 06-30-2005, 07:40 PM
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grumpy grumpy is offline
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Don't know Fraz. Don't think making $48 a day as a fireman could brake the thieves running the show.
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  #7  
Old 06-30-2005, 10:10 PM
Franz Franz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
Don't know Fraz. Don't think making $48 a day as a fireman could brake the thieves running the show.
Now Grump, you know you were just featherbedding dead weight as a fireman by the time of the PennCentral. $48- a day back in 1970 would be $241.82 in today's money, according to the inflation calculator.

I used to wonder in the 50s, how the hell NY Central could report a loss every quarter, and still keep the door open. Years later, I ran into a guy who explained BigCompany accounting. The railroad added the total value of everything they owned, from spikes to realestate and rolling stock, and then multiplyed that number by the best rate of return they could have made in the stock and or bond market. Naturally, running a road never yielded up that kind of profit, so they had a paper loss they could deduct onthe tax form.
Now if you or I tried that, we'd be headed for jail real quick.

One Rod, you just know those factory guys were matriculated Engunyers who didn't recognize a rock when they saw one.
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Old 06-30-2005, 10:15 PM
Franz Franz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pile Buck
Well here we go again! Far be it from me to correct you! But I’ve been involved in setting some rails in my time. And they were a he!! of a lot father apart than any 4’-8 ½-inches. Try 100-feet

Buck I sware I gotta get Wyoming to rope you to the back of the ChoChoo, and haul ya over here. I'll show you a building, well, it looks like a building, that Liberty ships were built in in 1943. Actually, it's a 300 ton crane frame, with a pair of 150s under the 300, all built on site from what could be scrounged.
The cranes that erected the frame were a worn out pair of Northwest shovels, that had 50 foot crane booms made for em. They lifted each other onto platforms on rails outside and inside the frame till they got up 120 feet.
Yup, those rails are about 20 feet apart, but they are crane rails, not ChoChoo rails. You gotta pay more attention to the subject we're discussin, and quit snoozin on the couch.
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Old 06-30-2005, 10:26 PM
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b-footn b-footn is offline
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What was that sound I just heard, "SMACK". I think that was Franz smacking your butt there Carl.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2005, 06:21 AM
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Pile Buck Pile Buck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b-footn
What was that sound I just heard, "SMACK". I think that was Franz smacking your butt there Carl.
WOW! I guess, OUCH! Just trying to broaden the horizons of his vast wealth of knowledge! Gee, try to help a guy out. I’ll go set in the car.
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