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Cape gauge is one name for the track gauge of 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) between the inside of the rail heads. The name and classification varies throughout the world. It has installations of around 112,000 kilometres (70,000 mi).
The gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) was first used by Norwegian engineer Carl Abraham Pihl and the first line was opened in 1862.
Cape gauge is named after the Cape Colony in what is now South Africa, which adopted this gauge in 1873. The Molteno Government of the Cape selected this gauge, after several studies in southern Europe, as being most suited for traversing the steep mountain ranges of southern Africa. Starting in 1873, the Cape Government Railways oversaw a rapid expansion of its railway network and the Cape gauge went on to become the standard for the southern African region with Natal changing its 10 km (6.2 mi) network from 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge to the Cape gauge as part of laying a rail network across the entire colony in 1876.
Australia uses several narrow gauge spacings, including 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in). To differentiate between the types of narrow gauge a lot of writers refer to the imperial (pre-metric) terms of 3 foot 6 inch or 2 foot gauge to distinguish between the gauges. In some Australian publications the term medium gauge is also used.
The term Japanese gauge is commonly used in Japan.
Installations by country
Worldwide, 112,000 km (70,000 mi) of track use the gauge:
- (contiguous unless otherwise stated)
- Africa (lines in Southern Africa mostly link up)
- Angola – some converted from 610 mm (2 ft) and 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in). Some isolated.
- DR Congo some converted from 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) and 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in). Some isolated.
- Namibia converted from 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in).
- Nigeria. Isolated.
- Sierra Leone. Isolated.
- South Africa
- South Sudan. Isolated.
- Sudan. Isolated.
- Tanzania, from Dar es Salaam to Zambia (TAZARA Railway)
- Indonesia 5,961 km (3,704 mi)
- Japan 22,301 km (13,857 mi)
- Russia – Sakhalin Island – as of 2010[update] in the process of conversion to 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) (Russian gauge)
- Taiwan 1,097 km (682 mi) (Taiwan Railway Administration)
- Philippines – 1,140 km (710 mi) (Philippine National Railways)
- Eastern Canada
- New Brunswick Railway — standard gauged in the 1880s.
- Newfoundland Railway — abandoned in 1988 and operated as a narrow gauge line until the very end.
- Prince Edward Island Railway — standard gauged in the 1920s following a car ferry connection with the mainland North America system before being abandoned in 1989.
- South Manchuria Railway — originally built to 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) Russian gauge as part of the Chinese Eastern Railway, it was converted by advancing Japanese troops during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 to use Japanese 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge rolling stock, and then re-gauged to 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge after the war by the new South Manchuria Railway Company.
- Most of the lines in and into Blekinge were built using Cape gauge. They have all been closed or re-gauged since then.
- United Kingdom
- Southend Pier Railway 1888-1978 1.34 miles of dual track. (the current single-track line of 1982 is laid to 3 ft gauge)
- United States
|Angola||Transport in Angola, Benguela railway|
|Australia||Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania|
|Canada||western New Brunswick until 1880s, all of the Newfoundland Railway until abandonment in September 1988 and the Prince Edward Island Railway until 1930, standard gauge until abandonment in December 1989, see Narrow gauge railways in Canada|
|Republic of the Congo|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Estonia||Tramway/ streetcar in Tallinn|
|Haiti||One of two track gauges known to be used in Haiti.|
|China||Hong Kong Tramways|
|Indonesia||Most common for all of lines operated by Indonesian Railways. Although the first railway in Indonesia was built as Standard Gauge (the Semarang - Solo - Yogyakarta corridor), but it was regauged by Japanese army during WWII as Cape Gauge, leaving some part of the regauged line still using wider rail sleeper formerly used by Standard Gauge rails.|
|Japan||Most common JR lines. First rail gauge used.|
|New Zealand||standardized at 3 ft 6 in by the Public Works Act of 1870|
|Norway||The 1,067 mm gauge was first used by C A Pihl on the Hamar-Grundset Line, opened 23 June 1862. The nickname CAP-gauge may be from his initials and not from the use of the gauge in the Cape Province in South Africa. Most lines built in the 19th century to 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) were rebuilt to normal gauge between 1904 and 1949. The Setesdal Line, a heritage railway line of about eight km remains at 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in).|
|Philippines||Philippine National Railways|
|South Africa||About 20500 route-km officially-defined as 1,065 mm (3 ft 5 15⁄16 in) gauge. Except for Gautrain (80 km) which is 1435 mm gauge and two limited 610 mm narrow gauge systems.|
|Sweden||Several during the 19th century, all are now closed.|
|Taiwan||Taiwan Railway Administration system|
|United States||Former Los Angeles Railway, the former San Diego Electric Railway (until gauge conversion to standard gauge in 1898), former Portland, Oregon urban streetcar lines (until closure in 1950), Tacoma Washington, Denver Colorado, and the San Francisco cable car system. Commonly used in underground coal mines.|
|Zimbabwe||National Railways of Zimbabwe|
1,093 mm (3 ft 7 in), 1,100 mm (3 ft 7 7⁄16 in), 1,055 mm (3 ft 5 1⁄2 in) and 1,050 mm (3 ft 5 11⁄32 in) are similar.
- Carl Abraham Pihl gauge controversy
- Medium gauge railways, by gauge and country
- Cape Government Railways
- Hex River Tunnels
- Ransom, P.J.G. (1996). Narrow Gauge Steam. Oxford Publishing Co. p. 107. ISBN 0-86093-533-7.
- Griffiths, Ieuan Ll; Rowland, Susan (1994). The Atlas of African Affairs. Routledge. p. 168. ISBN 0-415-05488-5.
- Bond, John (1956). "Chapter 19, The Makers of Railways: John Molteno". They were South Africans. Oxford University Press. p. 170.
- Burman, Jose (1984), Early Railways at the Cape, Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, ISBN 0-7981-1760-5
- Davenport, D.E. A Railway Sketch of South Africa. 1882. Cape Town.
- Bulpin, TV (1977) . Natal and the Zulu Country (3rd ed.). Cape Town: T.V. Bulpin Publications Ltd. pp. 224–227.
- Bergh, Trond (2001). "Backwardness for ever: Norwegian railway engineers and the narrow gauge, light railway system". EBHA Conference 2001: Business and Knowledge A1: Knowledge as platform for strategy: page 15.
-  Adoption of the 3ft. 6ins. gauge for queensland railways (1983)
- "CIA World Factbook, Ecuador".
- Stoek, H. H.; Fleming, J. R.; Hoskin, A. J. (July 1922). "A Study of Coal Mine Haulage in Illinois". Engineering Experiment Station Bulletin 132 (University of Illinois). pp. 102–103. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- Lowrie, Raymond L., ed. (2002). "Excavation, Loading, and Material Transport". SME Mining Reference Handbook. Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. p. 232. Retrieved 9 Oct 2012.
- "CIA World Factbook, Indonesia".
- "CIA World Factbook, Japan".
- Railway and Locomotive Engineering, vol. 26 (1913), pp. 91–92
- Morrison, Allen (1 February 2008). "The Tramways of Colombia / Panama". Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- Bjerke, T. & Holom, F. (2004) Banedata 2004. Hamar/Oslo: Norsk Jernbanemuseum & Norsk Jernbaneklubb. p. 98
- Spoornet (Transnet's predecessor), Manual for Track Maintenance, July 2000, http://www.spoornet.co.za/SpoornetWebContentSAP/documents/track_maintenance.pdf
- Transnet Annual Report 2010, Operational Review, http://www.overendstudio.co.za/online_reports/transnet_ar2011/op_freight.php
- H. H. Stoek, J. R. Fleming, A. J. Hoskin, A Study of Coal Mine Haulage in Illinois, Engineering Experiment Station Bulletin No. 132, University of Illinois, July 1922, pages 102–103.