Hong Kong MTR gauge?

 
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
A quick question.

Why is the gauge of most of Hong Kong's MTR Rapid Transit lines 3mm narrower (1432mm) than the lines of the former KCRC railway lines and the mainland Chinese railway lines (1435mm)?

Wouldn't it have made sense to have them the same gauge to potentially enable through running if required?

Also can a wheel be designed that allows running on both gauges?

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have often wondered this myself as the loading gauge for the MTR is also different (from memory) than that of the KCRC which of course id standard gauge.  I don't think this is the only place in the world where such small differences exist between rail gauges.

While we are on the topic of Hong Kong the tram network is 1067mm or 3 foot 6.

  justapassenger Minister for Railways

A quick question.

Why is the gauge of most of Hong Kong's MTR Rapid Transit lines 3mm narrower (1432mm) than the lines of the former KCRC railway lines and the mainland Chinese railway lines (1435mm)?
GeoffreyHansen
Probably to ensure that there was a paperwork barrier keeping MTR as a self-contained metro system free of being tangled up with through running to/from conventional railways.

A non-standard gauge was chosen for BART (1676mm, i.e. Indian Gauge) for similar reasons, to prevent it getting tangled up with conventional railways while still being aligned with a large enough base of other railways (Indian Gauge is the #3 gauge in the world ranked by track kilometres) to allow economy of scale in production of components.

Also can a wheel be designed that allows running on both gauges?
GeoffreyHansen
For sure, in fact I would bet that every MTR train uses exactly the same wheelset profile regardless of which lines they run on.

Remember that the coned profile of wheels and lateral movement is how trains negotiate curves on a railway, so movement within the gauge is entirely normal.

In Eastern Europe, the slightly different 1524mm (Estonia and Finland) and 1520mm (most other Russian-influenced countries) gauges are treated as being compatible.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Just to add some icing to the cake the Victoria Peak Tram is actually built to russian gauge 1520mm
  WimbledonW Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney
Just to add some icing to the cake the Victoria Peak Tram is actually built to Russian gauge 1520mm
bevans


The Russian gauge of 5' 0" was determined by the gauge of many of the southern states of the USA which was often 5' 0". AIUI American engineers from the southern Us were influential in the choice of the Russian gauge. 5' is after a nice round figure compared to 4' 8.5".

Maybe the VP trams was built by American civil engineers? In what year? Well, the tunnel has the date engraved on the keystone, which is hard to read but might be 1922?

The original Panama railway gauge was also 5' 0" for the same reason. More recently changed to SG.

To return to top "S E Asia" post: https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p2192184.htm#2192184
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Just to add some icing to the cake the Victoria Peak Tram is actually built to Russian gauge 1520mm


The Russian gauge of 5' 0" was determined by the gauge of many of the southern states of the USA which was often 5' 0".

Maybe the VP trams was built by American civil engineers?

The original Panama railway gauge was also 5' 0" for the same reason. More recently changed to SG.

To return to top "S E Asia" post: https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p2192184.htm#2192184
WimbledonW

I have not read why the peak tram is russian gauge I will need to research.

I have also used the tram to the peak of the mountain in penang but can't recall that gauge
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Interesting discussion. I recall that Toronto's tramway gauge (which remains to this day) is also an oddball one at 1495mm and was chosen to be wider than conventional wagon wheel axles (usually 1435mm) to allow those wagons to use the inside of the tramway as a road and avoid the muddy 19th century streets. It also precluded the railways from being able to run their freight on the tram network.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Here is some video of the Penang Hill tram.  I recall how enjoyable the ride was but also how nice the tea rooms at the top were and the relief from the heat.  



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNHqIZmtFYM
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'It also precluded the railways from being able to run their freight on the tram network.'
Sounds a bit like Victoria retaining the country BG lines at all costs as a means of precluding competition from those rotten people with SG equipment.

(Sorry DD707 I couldn't help it!) Smile
  billjohnston Station Master

Regarding BART guage, IIRC there is a diesel extension of BART in the North East running on S.G. as this was the cheapest option in the short term. This requires all change of course and separate supported and maintained equipment. A bad decision coming home to roost from way back in the 1960's?

Bill Johnston
  WimbledonW Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney
Regarding BART guage, IIRC there is a diesel extension of BART in the North East running on S.G. as this was the cheapest option in the short term. This requires all change of course and separate supported and maintained equipment. A bad decision coming home to roost from way back in the 1960's?

Bill Johnston
billjohnston
AIUI, BART chose 5' 6" gauge to reduce the chance that lightweight carriages would be blown over by the wind. A similar reason applied to the choice of the same gauge in India.

One 3' gauge train in Ireland was indeed blown off the rails due to strong winds.

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