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.
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:
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 KnowlesNew 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".