Japan's Railway History

 
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

Cape Gauge was used in many countries throughout the world. It has been identified primarily with the Cape Colony in South Africa but was used first in the UK on a variety of tramways. Later its use extended into a number of countries in the Far East including New Zealand, Indonesia and in particular Japan.

Cape Gauge was chosen as the 'standard gauge' in Japan. This post provides an introduction to the historic railways of Japan. The story includes a variety of different gauges. The use of different gauges seems at least as complex as the situation in the UK.


https://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/01/09/japanese-railway-history-cape-gauge

Sponsored advertisement

  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

I hope to produce a short series of short posts over the next little while which look at some of the 2ft 6in track-gauge railway in Japan. This is the first. The Kurobe Gorge Railway is both as tourist railway and a supply line to the hydroelectric power stations along the Kurobe River Gorge.

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/01/30/japanese-narrow-gauge-762mm-lines-part-1-the-kurobe-gorge-railway[/color]
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The Kiso Forest Railways - Part A

This next post provides an introduction to the Logging Railways in the Kiso Forest. Only a short tourist railway now remains of what was once a very large system of 762mm lines. I am currently working on a short survey of one of the lines which made up the network.

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/02/11/japanese-narrow-gauge-762mm-lines-part-2-the-kiso-railway-part-a[/color]
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The Kiso Forest Railways - Part B

This post covers one of the main logging railway networks in the Kiso Valley. ... The Otaki Forest Railway.

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/02/16/japanese-narrow-gauge-762mm-lines-part-3-the-kiso-railway-part-b-the-otaki-forest-railway[/color]
  br30453 Train Controller

Cape Gauge was used in many countries throughout the world. It has been identified primarily with the Cape Colony in South Africa but was used first in the UK on a variety of tramways. Later its use extended into a number of countries in the Far East including New Zealand, Indonesia and in particular Japan.

Cape Gauge was chosen as the 'standard gauge' in Japan. This post provides an introduction to the historic railways of Japan. The story includes a variety of different gauges. The use of different gauges seems at least as complex as the situation in the UK.


https://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/01/09/japanese-railway-history-cape-gauge
rogerfarnworth
As there were a number of railways constructed to the 3ft 6in gauge before any to this gauge in South Africa the term 'Cape Gauge' is really a misnomer>

John Knowles give the derivation of the name:

QR Sesquicentenary

Regarding the article in RD October 2015, p 48: It is said the first Queensland line was built to the experimental Anglo Cape gauge of 3ft 6ins. There were no all purpose steam railways of that or close gauges in England or Cape Colony when the gauge was selected for Queensland in 1863. Nor was there then anything new or experimental about railways of gauges close to that: such commenced in Belgium in 1844, Austria 1854, various in Sweden 1850s, Norway 1861. None was experimental; railways of such gauges were simply adaptations of 1435mm gauge lines. They emerged in India, Algeria, Chile and France contemporaneously with Queensland.

Calling 3ft 6ins, 1067mm, narrow gauge is insufficiently descriptive, when, especially in Queensland, 610 mm is also narrow. Gauges of say three to four feet, or 900 to 1200mm, are medium gauge, narrow less than three feet. Cape is not an appropriate adjective for 3ft 6ins gauge, especially in relation to Queensland. The gauge was not chosen for Cape Colony until 1872, almost a decade after it was chosen for Queensland. South Africans did not use the term for the gauge. It comes much later from French and German colonialists distinguishing metre gauge of lines in their African colonies from that in the south of the continent ("Kapspur"). As happened also in New Zealand and Tasmania, Cape Colony converted wider gauges to medium.

It is correct that in 1863 Queensland was the intended most widespread use of medium gauge; it was also the first place where medium was the only gauge, not secondary to wider. Queensland came before all the large medium gauge networks of the world.

Timber bridging has nothing to do with gauge. It was/ is used on wider gauges and
for heavy axleloads. Indeed, the Ipswich to Toowoomba line had considerable iron bridge spans. Nor do medium gauge and sharp curvature necessarily go together. The ruling five chains radius of the first Queensland line is in widespread use on the 1676mm gauge in Sri Lanka. Light trains and construction standards (20 kgs rails) were the main basis of reduced costs on the first Queensland line, but that does not necessarily apply only to medium gauge — South Australia had considerable track with the same 20 kgs rails on 1600mm gauge, while since the early 1900s some of the heaviest duty railways have been medium gauge.

The first Queensland railway ran from Ipswich to Dalby and Warwick via Toowoomba. Grandchester was merely the end of the first section; construction was in hand well beyond there when that first section opened. Queensland was then a Colony, not a State.

John Knowles
New Malden., UK
RAILWAY DIGEST, November 2015, p58

Someone suggested and I think it was John, that "CAP gauge', which is derived from the initials of Carl Abraham Phil would be a more acceptable name.

Not criticising your very informative posts but Just my slant on use of the name "Cape Gauge".
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

No problem with the comments. I appreciate them. The earliest use of the gauge was probably in the UK for tramways, perhaps close to half a century earlier than the use in Norway. 3'6" is a very British gauge!  Very Happy
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The Kiso Forest Railways - Part C

This next post covers another of the significant 762mm railways in the Kiso Forest. The Ogawa Forest Railway. This railway was connected directly to the Otaki Forest Railway.

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/02/21/japanese-narrow-gauge-762mm-lines-part-4-the-kiso-railway-part-c-the-ogawa-forest-railway[/color]
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The Kiso Forest Railways - Part D

Further South down the Kiso River is the town of Nojiri. There was a significant network of 762mm railways in its immediate vicinity and in the Atera River Valley. The Nojiri Forest Railways are covered in this next post.

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/02/25/japanese-narrow-gauge-762mm-lines-part-5-the-kiso-railway-part-d-the-atera-valley-and-the-nojiri-forest-railway[/color]
  CAP_gauge Junior Train Controller

I do not think it fair to the memory of the Norwegian civil engineer Carl Abraham Pihl to claim 3 ft 6 in gauge as "a very British gauge". Yes it is undoubtedly true that there were 3 ft 6 in gauge railways or tramways long before the first Norwegian 3 ft 6 in gauge line was opened in 1862, but I do not believe any of them were steam-hauled common-carrier railways. Most were either horse worked tramways or industrial railways. And yes the first Norwegian lines used British locomotives, rolling stock, and track materials - which is exactly what Carl Pihl wanted. And yes - Carl Pihl was trained in railway engineering in England, spoke perfect English, and married an English woman.

Carl Pihl started the development of 3 ft 6 in gauge railways in 1857, and what he was looking for was a scaled-down version of British railway practice to reduce costs, because the Norwegian economy at that time could not support high expenditure on railways.

Pihl ran into a great deal of opposition at that time from British locomotive builders to his desire to use 3 ft 6 in gauge. They claimed it was impractical and that he should stick with standard gauge. He disagreed and persevered, but he had a great deal of initial difficulty in getting locomotives which would perform well on 3 ft 6 in gauge.

The point I am trying to make is that I do not think 3 ft 6 in gauge would have got off the ground as a gauge for common-carrier railways without Pihl's perseverance. It was after he had two successful 3 ft 6 in gauge railways running by 1864 - one in very difficult country - that the gauge took off. British civil engineering firms used the Norwegian examples to prove the gauge would work.
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

Hi, I understand your comments. My point was limited to the fact that the gauge itself 3'6" is not a metric gauge but an imperial gauge.
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The Kiso Forest Railways - Part E

I am indebted to a number of Japanese language websites for many of the photographs in this series of posts. I am glad to say that I have been able to contact the site owners and have full permission to reproduce the photographs from their sites.

You will see that I am particularly grateful for permission from the site owner of 'rintetsu.net' for many of the photos in this next post.

On that site you will find considerably more photographs of the route covered here.

This next post covers the Forest Railway which leaves the JR Chuo Line at Yabuhara in the Kiso Forest area - The Ogiso Forest Railway.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/03/01/japanese-narrow-gauge-762mm-lines-part-6-the-kiso-railway-part-e-the-ogiso-line-from-yabuhara
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The early history of Japanese Railways is covered in exemplary fashion in a book by Dan Free.

This is my review of the book.

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/03/19/book-review-early-japanese-railways-by-dan-free[/color]

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: bevans, br30453, CAP_gauge

Display from: