5 ft 3 in gauge railways

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Track gauges
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Graphic list of track gauges

Minimum
  Fifteen inch 381 mm (15 in)

Narrow
  Two foot and
600 mm
597 mm
600 mm
603 mm
610 mm
(1 ft 11 12 in)
(1 ft 11 58 in)
(1 ft 11 34 in)
(2 ft)
  750 mm,
Bosnian,
Two foot six inch,
800 mm
750 mm
760 mm
762 mm
800 mm
(2 ft 5 12 in)
(2 ft 5 1516 in)
(2 ft 6 in)
(2 ft 7 12 in)
  Swedish three foot,
900 mm,
Three foot
891 mm
900 mm
914 mm
(2 ft11 332 in)
(2 ft 11 716)
(3 ft)
  Metre 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
  Three foot six inch,
Cape, CAP, Kyōki
1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
  Four foot six inch 1,372 mm (4 ft 6 in)

  Standard 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

Broad
  Russian,
Five foot
1,520 mm
1,524 mm
(4 ft 11 2732 in)
(5 ft)
  Irish 1,600 mm 5 ft 3 in)
  Iberian 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 2132 in)
  Indian 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
  Brunel 2,140 mm (7 ft 14 in)
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Railways with track gauge of 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) are broad gauge railways, currently in use in Australia, Brazil and Ireland.

History[edit]

600 BCE
The Diolkos (Δίολκος) across the Isthmus of Corinth in Greece – a grooved paved trackway – was constructed with an average gauge of 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm).[1]
1840
The Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway was constructed to 5 ft 3 in gauge, converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge in 1854-1855.
1843
The Board of Trade of the United Kingdom recommended the use of 5 ft 3 in in Ireland, after investigating a dispute caused by diverse gauges in Ireland.
1846
The Regulating the Gauge of Railways Act 1846 made this gauge mandatory on the island of Ireland.[2]
1847
The Swiss Northern Railway was opened, converted to standard gauge in 1854.
1854
The first Australian 5 ft 3 in line was opened, the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company.
1858
The first Brazilian 5 ft 3 in railway was opened, the Companhia de Estrada de Ferro Dom Pedro II.
1863
The Canterbury Provincial Railways in New Zealand was built in 5 ft 3 in until gauge conversion to 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) in 1876

Nomenclature[edit]

  • In Ireland this gauge is known as Irish gauge.[3][4]
  • In Australia this gauge is known as Victorian Broad Gauge.[5][6]

Installations[edit]

Country/territory Railway
Australia States of South Australia, Victoria (Victorian broad gauge), New South Wales (a few lines built by, and connected to, the Victorian rail system) and Tasmania, Australia (one line, Deloraine to Launceston, opened in 1871, partly converted to dual gauge, and then converted to 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) in 1888).

The 125 km (77.7 mi) long Oaklands railway line, which runs into New South Wales from Victoria, was converted to standard gauge in 2009. The project was relatively easy because the line has wooden sleepers. 200 km (124.3 mi) of the Albury-Wodonga railway line, Victoria was converted to standard gauge in 2008-2011, meaning a double track standard gauge line was created between Seymour and Albury. The current network is 4,017 km or 2,496 mi, 10% of the total Australian rail network.

Brazil Lines connecting the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais; E.F.Carajás in Pará and Maranhão states, and Ferronorte in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states. Used in older Metro systems. Although metre gauge network is almost 5 times longer,[7] Irish gauge is considered the standard by ABNT [8] The current network is 4,057 km or 2,521 mi, 15% of the total Brazilian network.
Germany Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway 1840 - 1855[9]
Switzerland Swiss Northern Railway between 1847 and 1854, converted 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge.
Ireland Irish broad gauge. The Downpatrick & Ardglass Railway began public operation, the first Irish gauge heritage railway in Ireland.[10] The current network is 2,400 km or 1,491 mi.[11]
New Zealand Canterbury Provincial Railways
(1863- ; All routes gauge converted to 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) by 1876)
United Kingdom Northern Ireland Railways - entire network, currently 330 km or 205 mi.

Similar gauges[edit]

The Pennsylvania trolley gauges of 5 ft 2 12 in (1,588 mm) and 5 ft 2 14 in (1,581 mm) are similar to Irish gauge. There is also 5 ft 2 in (1,575 mm) gauge, which is similar as well. See: Track gauge in Ireland.

Locomotives[edit]

One of the supposed advantages of the broader 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Irish gauge, compared to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge, is that the greater space between the wheels allows for bigger cylinders. In practice, Ireland does not have any heavily-loaded or steeply-graded lines that would require especially powerful locomotives. The most powerful steam locomotives on systems of this gauge were:

By comparison a non-articulated standard gauge locomotive in the same country was:


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewis, M. J. T. (2001), "Railways in the Greek and Roman world" (PDF), in Guy, A.; Rees, J., Early Railways. A Selection of Papers from the First International Early Railways Conference, pp. 8–19 (10–15) 
  2. ^ "ODDS AND ENDS.". Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857) (Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 24 March 1846. p. 4. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Dublin's Strangest Tales: Extraordinary But True Stories - Michael Barry, Patrick Sammon
  4. ^ Cast Into the Unknown - Mike W. Harry - page 30
  5. ^ Back on Track: Rethinking Transport Policy in Australia and New Zealand - Philip Laird, Mark Bachels
  6. ^ Transfer of gauge, a useful railway invention - Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) Sunday 8 June 1902 Supplement, page 1
  7. ^ Rail_transport_in_Brazil
  8. ^ Newer Metro systems use 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge.
  9. ^ Rieger, Bernhard (2006-04-23). "Breitspurbahn". Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  10. ^ Cochrane, Gerry (2009). Back in Steam: the Downpatrick and County Down Railway from 1982. Newtownards: Colourpoint. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-906578-29-9. 
  11. ^ Iarnród Éireann website, infrastructure section