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 Post subject: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:05 pm
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Location: Between Things
I'm sure you have read about this archeological find in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Here is the first picture I've seen of it:
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/445195

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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:54 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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railfan44 wrote:
I'm sure you have read about this archeological find in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Here is the first picture I've seen of it:
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/445195


Marty,

It came up here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=35357

I think it is quite interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:51 pm 

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From back in the days when "Taking coals to Newcastle" was the epitome of foolish endeavours. I remember reading back in the 1960s or 70s about the closing of Newcastle's last coal mine, the Montague Colliery.

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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:48 pm 

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I would like to know how they concluded that they had disovered 4 ft. - 8 1/2- inch gage.


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:24 pm 

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Quote:
I would like to know how they concluded that they had disovered 4 ft. - 8 1/2- inch gage.


Just sticking my neck out with a guess as I'm not involved, but possibly they took some measurements?

Another link:

[url]http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/river-tyne-200-year-old-5325105
[/url]

Steve Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:25 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
sbhunterca wrote:
Quote:
I would like to know how they concluded that they had disovered 4 ft. - 8 1/2- inch gage.


Just sticking my neck out with a guess as I'm not involved, but possibly they took some measurements?

Another link:

[url]http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/river-tyne-200-year-old-5325105
[/url]

Steve Hunter


I should have clarified that my question goes to how they got a measurement down to within a half inch, or even a couple inches, given the deterioration of the track.

There has been a lot of discussion and debate about the origin of standard gage. So if ancient track is discovered intact, it would be of utmost importance to learn the exact nominal gage measurement. Looking at the track in the photos, I would think that finding that nominal gage would require some extensive analysis. I am not sure that the exact number could be found for certain.

So, when they say that it is standard gage, I wonder how they know that. They might have just put a tape measure on it and it looked to be within a few inches of standard, so they just assumed it was standard. But back then, what we call "standard" was not standard. So an making an assumption of standard might not be a valid means.


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:18 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Ron Travis wrote:
I would like to know how they concluded that they had disovered 4 ft. - 8 1/2- inch gage.


They measured the width of the hindquarters of two mummified Roman Chariot horses found in the mud...

You're right, that is an interesting question, and I wonder if they researched it, or just took a measurement and figured "close enough"

My own pet theory on standard gauge was that either the wheels or the rails were possibly set 5 foot center to center? I realize you can't measure gauge that way, but maybe in the early development stage he didn't realize that varying rail sizes would change things, and didn't think about the future impact of his choice?. Kind of like building an experimental plane, and not intending to set a standard when you create it.


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:01 am 

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The story of the two horse’s rear ends is too pat. Because one gage number became a widely accepted standard, it seems like a logical question to ask where that standard originated, as if the origination was a single event like the big bang theory.

Adding to the mystery is the perception of deliberation resulting in a number down to 1/2 inch. But the gage number’s origination was more like a consensus of a Ouija board. Adding confusion, there is indeed a theory that gage was originally measured between the wheel centers as would be a natural inclination for non-railroad wheeled wagons.

Another story tells of how the ½” was added to an earlier gage of 4’-8” for the purpose of adding flange clearance. But thinking about that is puzzling because a given gage number applies to both the wheels and the rails with the flange clearance built into how the gage is measured between flanges.


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:44 pm 

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Before I read the caption to this picture, it looks like a steam loco sunk in 20 feet of mud at first glance. The man on the left is standing near a bucket or pail that quickly looked like the top of a smokestack!!


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
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Location: Southern California
Bobharbison wrote:
My own pet theory on standard gauge was that either the wheels or the rails were possibly set 5 foot center to center? I realize you can't measure gauge that way, but maybe in the early development stage he didn't realize that varying rail sizes would change things, and didn't think about the future impact of his choice?. Kind of like building an experimental plane, and not intending to set a standard when you create it.
The authors of the book The American Railroad Network, 1861-1890 also make a convincing argument that the early wooden tramways in England were laid with a 5-foot center to center spacing; then once the width is deducted the gauge between became 4'-8-1/2".

This is part of the authors discussion of the adoption of the uniform standard gauge in the United States following the Civil War.

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 Post subject: Standards
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:38 pm 

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Location: Ballard, WA
For those who are unfamiliar with the horse story, read "Horse's Pass".


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation in the Extreme
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:21 pm 

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Location: St. Louis, MO
It's amazing how fast this type of discussion got to the Roman chariot origin of standard gauge track, even though this is at best an "urban myth." Central to the story is the belief that George Stephenson had to go looking for a track gauge when he started working on railroads. But he didn't have to do any more than look down at the existing track at the Killingworth coal mine tramway. British mine tram roads and trackways, like the one just found, had existed with wood and later iron "rails" since 1598 at the time and were built to various track widths or "gauges." Most were between four and five feet, although some were smaller or larger. Most were independent operations from mine to river or canal where the coal could be transported away, but a few were used by several mines and these had to share a gauge, while the others could be built to any handy dimension. Where George Stephenson was working the rails were four feet, eight inches apart and as that seemed to be fine he adopted it for his first locomotives, but after some experience found it helpful to add another half inch to ease the way around curves. He didn't have to go looking for ruts in any Roman roads and the fact that these existed was just a coincidence. There are some books on the ancient wooden wagonways which show they date back to the 14th Century in German mines, with the earliest illustration dating to 1519. The German Technical Museum in Berlin has an example found in a Hungarian mine in 1889 on exhibit. I have Early Wooden Railways by M.J.T. Lewis in my library. Also try The Evolution of Railways by Charles E. Lee. This discovery is of great interest but please, no more Roman chariot myths.

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