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Re: [Z_Scale] Why 4 '8.5"?

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  • Alan Cox
    On Mon, 24 Jan 2011 19:24:58 -0000 ... Nope - myth ... Roman roads were metalled ... Try scratch building something. At that point your source drawing material
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 24, 2011
      On Mon, 24 Jan 2011 19:24:58 -0000
      "Bob Knee" <bob@...> wrote:

      > I believe we have the Romans to thank for this.
      >
      > The distance between chariot wheels was a Roman measurement which equates to 4' 8.5".

      Nope - myth

      > Their roads were very straight and not metalled, so the wheels made ruts. When anyone else made carts, it was easier to just make the wheels fit in the existing ruts.

      Roman roads were metalled

      > The one anomaly I have never been able to work out is why HO scale/gauge works to 3.5mm to 1', being a mixture of imperial and metric measurements.

      Try scratch building something. At that point your source drawing material
      was historically in imperial form, while metric was far far easier for
      model making and precision work. Using a mixed format scale makes life
      much much easier.

      Hence O was 7mm/ft, an HO (half-O) is thus 3.5mm/ft.

      Alan
    • Alan Cox
      On Mon, 24 Jan 2011 19:37:21 -0000 ... See my earlier post on the subject - in short network effects. When you attach two small lines together it was
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 24, 2011
        On Mon, 24 Jan 2011 19:37:21 -0000
        "Bob Knee" <bob@...> wrote:

        > So what is the explanation that is given most credence?

        See my earlier post on the subject - in short network effects. When you
        attach two small lines together it was economically sensible to use the
        same gauge. Once there was any semblance of commonality then you had to
        join in.

        Prior to that it's less clear. There are constraints in various
        directions and presumably 4-5ft was in most places about the right
        balance, although in some areas narrower was used.

        The narrower you make the track the slower you have to go and the less
        load you can easily move. Beyond a certain narrowness the engine is hard
        to fit on track. The wider you make it the more load you can carry but
        the harder it is to keep the gauge right and for railways the more
        expensive sleepers are. Likewise the wider a wagon is the harder it is to
        support and frame and to make axles and bearings.

        There is a lot of period literature on the subject, including
        documentation of some of the early move to metal on rails (to reduce
        friction on curves) and the like.

        Alan
      • W.R.Dixon
        ... A long time ago (1825) or so George Stephenson built the Stockton and Darlington railway. As to choice of gauge he built what he knew. His last work on
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 24, 2011
          On 2011-01-24 11:37 AM, Bob Knee wrote:
          > So what is the explanation that is given most credence?
          >
          > Bob

          A long time ago (1825) or so George Stephenson built the Stockton and
          Darlington railway. As to choice of gauge he built what he knew. His
          last work on Colliery Railways was to 4' 8" gauge thus the S&D was built
          to the same gauge.

          When he moved on to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway he built what
          he knew worked; 4' 8". Other builders copied what worked. When thoughts
          of interchange occurred you had to build to the gauge of the railway you
          connected to so the 4' 8" gauge spread.

          If in his colliery days he had worked to a different track gauge,
          standard gauge today might be a different width.

          Bill Dixon
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