Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)

The Railway Gauges

The Railway Gauges.

As a result of the initial construction of the Indian Railways being left to private companies, there is a great diversity in gauge uniformity. At the earliest stages the English gauge was discarded for one measuring 5 ft. 6 ins. considered to be especially adapted to requirements of Indian traffic. This is the gauge in use by the three principal systems: and to-day their actual mileage totals as much as the other three gauges in use. Next comes the metre (3 ft. 33/8 ins.) system; and these two gauges are the main arteries of transport. The mileage totals of the remaining two gauges (2 ft. 6 ins. and 2 ft.), are comparatively small. When the Indian Government decided upon entering into railway building on its own account, the metre gauge was favoured for purposes of economy. This decision was accepted by other private companies receiving concessions after that date.

It is more than probable that, had the great capacity and regularity of present requirements been forseen, the capital expenditure saved in the construction of narrower gauges would not have received much consideration.

Transfer of merchandise from one system to another involves many difficulties. Not only are there heavy losses entailed, but opportunities for larcency are afforded apart from the continuous expense of transference.

This applies, of course, to all countries where-diversity of gauge exists, and it is a matter which even now is receiving the considered attention of railway executives. In India, particularly, there are many local conditions which tend to intensify the inconveniences attendant upon mixed gauges.