Current Events & News Items & JokesInteresting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

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Ironman
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Interesting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

Postby Ironman » Thu May 12, 2016 7:33 pm

Found this on a Railway site- (Although Australia ended up with roughly three different railway gauges)

Does the expression, "We've always done it that way" ring any bells?

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.
That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US Railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever!

So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's rump came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

Now the twist to the story...
There's an interesting extension to the story about railroad gauges and horses' behinds.

When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.

The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So! A major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of two horse's behinds.... and you thought being a HORSE'S BEHIND wasn't so important.


Have I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth.

I'll be a fool for truth's sake. Truth is fallen in the street. I wont pass it by. I'll pick it up and embrace it regardless of the costs.

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Re: Interesting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

Postby Spiritblade Disciple » Thu May 19, 2016 8:00 pm

:angel:



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dolph
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Re: Interesting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

Postby dolph » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:26 pm

I wonder if all the railroad tracks in the U.S. are the same gauge? I know that when Germany fought Russia in WW II they had t change the wheels of their RR cars when moving fro Germany to Poland to Russia. I guess they changed engines at the same time.

Interesting how only the Brits chose to drive their cars on the wrong side of the road. Do the Aussies drive on the right or left?



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Ironman
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Re: Interesting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

Postby Ironman » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:35 pm

dolph wrote:I wonder if all the railroad tracks in the U.S. are the same gauge? I know that when Germany fought Russia in WW II they had t change the wheels of their RR cars when moving fro Germany to Poland to Russia. I guess they changed engines at the same time.

Interesting how only the Brits chose to drive their cars on the wrong side of the road. Do the Aussies drive on the right or left?


We drive on the left hand side, same as the Pommies.


Have I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth.

I'll be a fool for truth's sake. Truth is fallen in the street. I wont pass it by. I'll pick it up and embrace it regardless of the costs.

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dolph
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Re: Interesting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

Postby dolph » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:00 pm

Pommels??



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Ironman
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Re: Interesting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

Postby Ironman » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:14 pm

dolph wrote:Pommels??


Pommies, . . . . Brits! . . . . Englishmen :lol!:


Have I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth.

I'll be a fool for truth's sake. Truth is fallen in the street. I wont pass it by. I'll pick it up and embrace it regardless of the costs.

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Spiritblade Disciple
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Re: Interesting railway fact, affects space shuttle design.

Postby Spiritblade Disciple » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:48 pm

HA!

It's amazing how many countries refuse to drive in righteousness on the right side of the road. Such a blatant rejection of what's right!


:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:




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