Re: Technology and historical continuity...
said Hilmar Preusse (on 2003-02-01),
> On 01.02.03 Blars Blarson (email@example.com) wrote:
> > If what I've heard about the Russian railways is true, the
> > trans-siberia dwarfs anything in Australia. Russia supposedly uses
> > a guage slightly narrower than standard,
> Correct me, if I'm wrong, but the russian railway is a little bit
> wider, than in the rest of Europe. Today any train coming from Europe
> or going to Europe has to change the wheels at the border of Russia.
I heard a long time ago that the reason for Russia having a wider gauge is
invasion paranoia. Much harder for napoleonic types to roll armies right
I once took the train from the USSR to Poland. The train arrived at the
border, the KGB border guards took our passports away, the train was
rolled into a shop, trucks unbolted, carriages jacked up, trucks rolled
out, new standard gauge trucks rolled in, carriages lowered, new trucks
bolted on, passports returned, and on our way we went. all done in an
hour without the passengers leaving the train.
Russian railcars are generally bigger in every dimension than standard
gauge railcars. The Polish carriages we rode in were certainly smaller
than the Russian ones in the same train.
An aside: containerized shipping was first implemented by the White Pass
& Yukon Railway, an narrow gauge railway operating between Skagway Alaska
and Whitehorse Yukon, serving the mining industry. They still use the
steam locomotive they purchased new in 1947 to haul tourists from Skagway
over the White Pass to Bennet BC and back. The line stopped hauling
freight within a decade of the highway being built from Skagway to
Whitehorse in 1977.