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Another Great Game

by DoDo Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 06:02:00 AM EST

In the 19th century, Central Asia has been subject to a chess-game-like strategic competition of the British and Russian imperialisms, called the Great Game.

For two decades now, a second Great Game is going on, for oil and gas and pipelines.

But, unrecognised by the general public, recently a third Great Game has started: one of landbridge transport projects. In just ten years, transeurasian railways might fundamentally change the structure of transport between the Far East and Europe.

What's different with the previous two Great Games is that this time, it's not Great Powers but some of the affected countries who are the key pushers, and the competition might lead to increased political stability rather than conflict.

From the diaries – whataboutbob


I prepared a map of what exists (black: standard-gauge, blue: broad-gauge) and what is built or projected (purple: standard-gauge, orange: broad-gauge):

Below I deal with individual links and projects, showing how close they are to becoming reality:

  • As can be seen to the north, one land-bridge already exists: the Trans-Siberian. Its advantages: the political stability of Russia and few border crossings. Its big disadvantage: the necessity of reloading at borders, due to the different gauge (and axleload and cross section). Also, China and Japan have doubts about security at stations, and large sums should be spent on line upgrades for a reliable service.

    Nevertheless, just one year ago, a China–Germany test run has been conducted in 16 days, proving the competitiveness to transport by ship, and Russia is working on making the option a commercial reality.

    Less realistic but politically supported is a link-up with both Koreas. Not at all realistic is the hyper-expensive Russian proposal to connect to Japan by building a link across the sea straits between Sakhalin and Hokkaido islands.

  • Most parts of a second route are already in place: the Silk Road route. In the last two decades, China built two lines west, linked up one with Kazakhstan, just started a supplementary route parallel to the Mongolian border; while the formerly Soviet 'stans created new short-cuts and linked with Iran. But this route too includes two gauge-changing stops, while crossing a lot of borders of politically unstable countries.

    Nevertheless, China is pushing for further connections with each of its western neighbours. The one towards Kyrgyzstan is closest to realisation. The one to Pakistan would be the most expensive, but one Pakistani section (a long tunnel) is in construction.

  • The most ambitious project is Kazakhstan's New Silk Road route: avoiding mountains, and the less stable 'stans, 3,940 km of new standard-gauge railway will create a direct link between the Chinese and Iranian standard-gauge networks by 2010, if construction continues as planned (currently the eastern end, parallel to the broad-gauge line, is in construction). Cost is $3.5 billion, oil money can finance it.

  • The most important node in the new trans-Eurasian network will be none other than Tehran in Iran. Nuclear technology is not the only field where the theocratic state pushes for industrial modernisation: railway construction also went on apace, most lines in East Iran you see are new or recently upgraded.

    Iran is on the Old Silk Road route, and will be part of the New Silk Road route. It will also provide a link with the Indian subcontinent's broad-gauge network in a few months, when the remaining section towards Pakistan will be finished – that is, if the recently re-started train traffic between India and Pakistan can ever grow beyond symbolic. More realistic is the Russia–Persian Gulf link across Azerbaijan, the missing link is in Iran and about to be constructed (partially from Russian money).

  • Between Iran and the EU, two gaps still exist – both in Turkey. But one of them, at the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul, will be eliminated by 2010: a tunnel is constructed since last year. The other, going around the Van lake, is currently in the planning stage. The link itself won't cost that much, however part of the line leading to it will have to be upgraded. (But the Ankara–Istanbul section is currently converted into a world-class mainline anyway.)

  • As for the EU, the remaining problematic part is the crossing of future members Bulgaria and Romania. The EU is already financing the upgrade and complete electrification of the Bulgarian mainline to Turkey, and upgrades in Romania. However, there is only one railway connection between the two, and that's a roundabout route. A second, more western crossing of the Danube (the Vidin–Calafat bridge) would make sense, and more line upgrades connected to it – but construction is slated to start this year, finished by 2009.

So in the best case, a freight train will be able to go from Shanghai straight to London in 2010, and if not then, then almost certainly by 2015. This will create interdependencies of mutual benefit.

What's more, if Russia can organise effective transport along the Transsib by then, there will be two competing routes, preventing any single transit country from stopping transport for blackmail.

It may even happen that the other 'stans will sense their chance and get their act together to create the conditions for a standard-gauge Old Silk Road route.

:: :: :: :: ::

Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

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Great diary.

This makes me hope that maybe Central Asia may in the course of this century organize itself into a democratic political entity.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:20:15 PM EST
Could be, but just as well, it might be that oligarchies remain.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:47:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you claiming that the EU has no oligarchs?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, no. But what part of my post made you think that there is a force for Central Asian democratisation here?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this time, it's not Great Powers but some of the affected countries who are the key pushers, and the competition might lead to increased political stability rather than conflict.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<snark>This is the neo-con at work in you again Migeru... Remember Stability!=Democracy, or at least not necessarily</snark>
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. I was a bit realpolitik-cynical when I wrote the diary...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:28:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stability + Economic interdependence + Economic improvement ~ Democracy

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:32:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again: how do China and the ASEAN countries fit into that?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll see how long China can go on creating an economically powerful middle class without carrying out some liberal political reforms.

ASEAN is mostly progressing rapidly, all things considered, but Myanmar/Burma is an ugly blot, I'll give you that.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:41:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having been on the transiberian railway and having gone from helsinki to Beijing via Tashkent, I find that train travel via central asia is a good idea, although one can go nuts spending three days on a train without stopping for more than a few minutes at a time.
by messy on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 12:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What the Russian railways need to do is introduce hop-on-hop-off tickets if they don't have them already. Then you can spend 24 hours at each stop (how many trains are there a day?).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 12:28:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, that! But what I was thinking of was regimes less willing to engage in any conflict, and a West less willing to make war or any mess causing conflict in the region, not necessarily stability from democratic legitimacy of regimes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:27:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is not only competition involved, but also cooperation.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:33:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China, ASEAN?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:36:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, you're taking care of the central asian gaping hole in my multipolar world map.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:51:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary indeed.

But a question: will there be enough railway cars to make the trip?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:33:29 PM EST
What limitation are you thinking of?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:38:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, are you thinking of something about the level of demand, about the length of the lines, about the rate of construction of manufacturers, or something else entirely?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:49:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd hope our Russophile readers could dig up some recent news about Russian attempts for facilitating Chinese-EU traffic.

I also add that there is one further factor that could benefit the Transsib route more: electrification. All of the Transsib is electrified, only the connecting lines across Mongolia or Northern China aren't - while large sections of the other routes would still have to be electrified.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:34:55 PM EST
I'm hoping for some Russians, too.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We also have readers from the 'stans, such as Serik Berik.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sorry for noticing this post so late. Catching up with work is an ungrateful business.

I'll try and search for more info on the Kazakhstan's part of this railway project. If anything interesting comes up, I'll put it up in a diary. Deal?

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government -- Edward Abbey

by serik berik (serik[dot]berik on Gmail) on Tue Mar 21st, 2006 at 06:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deal! Am looking forward to anything.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 21st, 2006 at 06:17:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, that was fast...
Thank you for the encouragement!

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government -- Edward Abbey
by serik berik (serik[dot]berik on Gmail) on Tue Mar 21st, 2006 at 06:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of my oligarch firends in Moscow tried for a while to work on the Pacific Ocean - Europe rail link via the Transsiberian. It would make a hell of a lot of economic sense, and some of the Asian trading houses (especially the big Japanese traders) would be willing to invest in it significantly as it would save them a number of days in transit and a lot pf money, but the Russians railways are even more corrupt than the oil sector (so said my oligarch from the oil sector friend) and it was impossible to get any guarantees in terms of reliability and safety - the main conditions for such a line to be put in place.

I personally expect the Artic trading route (the one made possible by global warming) to be in place before any land version happens - meaning that the land versions will NEVER happen.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:06:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are you doing up past 1 am, Jerome?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The same as you?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:38:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but it was only past midnight here ;-P

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 06:10:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, right.
by blackhawk on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 05:56:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll be happy to take the bet (on the land route vs artic route, I mean, which I presume is what you commented upon)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 07:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Were you serious? Everything sounds so wrong, I don't know where to start. But in this you are right: Japan will ship through Arctic before it will happen through Transsib. As for Transsib as internal trading route, it works already.

For this entire thread and your comment, keywords to look up: cost of shipping via sea and rail, insurance, energy costs, landlocked countries, Axes of Evil and Turkmenistan.

What the shipping costs are for shipping from Japan to Vladivistok, Russia vs Haifa, Israel?

by blackhawk on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 08:45:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think Turkmenistan would pose more problems to freight traffic than Belarus? But there is already some through traffic to Iran, along the border crossing line completed in the nineties.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 12:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Axes of Evil

I don't believe in axes of evil. Apparently Putin's government doesn't either, or they wouldn't pursue that project with Iran and Azerbaijan to create a North-South corridor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 12:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What the shipping costs are for shipping from Japan to Vladivistok, Russia vs Haifa, Israel?

Cost, or price? If the latter, roughly the same?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 12:27:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The situation you described is one that greatly impoved since Putin took power.

RZD put its finances in order. The going-to-nowhere projects suddenly started to be finished: the final unelectrified sections of the Transsib were electrified lately, the longest tunnel along the BAM (during construction, some passes were crossed with intended-as-temporary lines until tunnels are finished) was put into service last year and the other half-finished ones are in works, the BAM's Eastern end (with the port connections) is about to be upgraded, a section of the Yakutsk line was opened and the rest is now in works, Moscow's suburban railways are modernised and two new airport links are in service, and so on.

Recently, there was one decision that may reflect a sane economic sense of management overruling political ties: the cancellation of the purchase of German high-speed trains. Building the lines for them would at present be beyond RZD's or even Russia's economic power, not to mention that train tickets would be too expensive for most, so spending money on system-wide upgrades does make sense.

What's more, the transcontinental traffic is kind of already in operation, in two halfs: there are some direct Berlin-Moscow and Moscow-Beijing freight transports.

Of course, to really get this off rolling, still a lot of line upgrades are needed for reliable train times, and potential customers need to be convinced that their transports are safe on the passage.

I personally expect the Artic trading route (the one made possible by global warming) to be in place before any land version happens - meaning that the land versions will NEVER happen.

The Artic route by ship would still be longer in time and more expensive than train.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 12:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Linking up distant lands is a fascinating concept at the work, for me. Toulouse-Seoul in a TGV => mind-boggling (then again, as a question to myself, is transporting people as profitable as transporting merchandise, on such long distances? ... mmmn, I'm not sure)

Anyhow, I'm already all excited about the fact that one day a high-speed TGV line will link Toulouse to the rest of France (and to Barcelona).

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:41:58 PM EST
And from Barcelona Zaragoza, Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla and Cordoba.

Toulouse and Seoul are 5800 miles apart (in a straight line), which the TGV would traverse in 29h. Definitely exciting. I think it'd be a matter of preparing oneself to stay up for 48 hours (with stops, and not in a straight line) watching Eurasia go by.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally the day it's made, I'll be the first to kick and bite my way onto the train.

For such a trip I'd wager that travelling by train would be so much more fascinating. The scenery would be better experienced. That said, flying can be wonderful too, but half of the time there are clouds, and beyond mountain ranges nothing really stands out.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Toulouse-Seoul in a TGV => mind-boggling

Heh, that would be something like 1.5 days even with a 350 km/h non-stop train :-)

(And a high-speed line for that would cost, what, anything upwards from €100 billion...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:54:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How much would the ticket cost?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anything upwards of €1000, I fear. (More likely upwards of €10,000...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
€1000 is not too bad... you can fly around the world for about that much, at the right time.

And a Wagon-Lit on a TGV is much spiffier than first class on an airplane, so €10000 also seems reasonable.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:01:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, less than the war in Iraq?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:04:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This tells you how much easier it is to allocate money for destruction than for construction.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a reminder that annual defence spending is around $1.5 trillion.

Annual meaning every damn year.

Just imagine what could be done with that if it wasn't wasted. With a peace dividend of that magnitude you could fund a scheme like this, solve world hunger, and barely notice the difference.

Throwing a few tens of billions a year at sustainables wouldn't be a bad thing either.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:46:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
one day a high-speed TGV line will link Toulouse to the rest of France (and to Barcelona).

At the current rate of construction, expect it when you're a granddaddy :-)...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:56:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing diary, indeed!
The discussion in the diary and the comments is mainly
about economic and political benefits, but if these projects take place, I think they will be benefits in a broader sphere of interrelations between Europe, Russia,and Asia. The cultural and social aspects should not be forgotten; I mean the connection between different cultures and societies could be "explored live" not through discovery channel or some magazines. The tourists flow in both directions will rise, even if the tickets are expensive at the beginning, could you imagine the challenge of travelling with train in the Old Silk Route or through Siberia up to the far east Russian coast. With a plain you can go from Brussels to Tokyo, but you will not see any of the variety and beauty of Asia or the Russian countriside.

The counterarguments like corruption, uncertainty, high expenses, political turmoils are definetely valid, but they will make the journey even more exciting. I do not know what do you think about this kind of tourism and experience, but I personally am looking forward for the first Trans Asian tourist train ;)))


I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel

by Chris on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 08:22:45 AM EST
Can't you already take the Transiberian as a tourist train, if you like?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 08:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, of course, but from Bulgaria to India, for example,I can go only with a plane,not on a trip through the Middle East or the ex Soviet republics, or it will be too difficult at least.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 08:31:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the enthusiasm, though I shall note that I think EU-China/India passenger transport, and high-speed lines as envisioned by Alex along these corridors, is a pipe dream for the foreseeable future. (But not one I don't dream of, of course :-) )

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 01:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Moscow-Beijing on the Transsiberian is only €300, is it not?

Another thing, there seems to be a hole in the normal gauge grid. What about a normal gauge line from the proposed Kazakhstan line through southern Russia to Kiev, Warsaw and Berlin? :D

Then you could travel from Berlin to Beijing in practically s straight line, saving lots of time and without any change of train.

Think about it, standing at the new Berlin Hbf and looking at the big screen: Beijing, 40 hours. :D

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 04:52:28 PM EST
Gauge, schmauge. Just use Talgo train sets with automatic gauge changing.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 04:55:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, two or three Talgos already run in Kazakhstan. Those are non-gauge-changing versions, but they could give ideas...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 06:02:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Moscow-Beijing on the Transsiberian is only €300, is it not?

Yes, but that's not high-speed :-)

What about a normal gauge line from the proposed Kazakhstan line through southern Russia to Kiev, Warsaw and Berlin?

Unfortunately, for that to become reality, Russia would have to decide that creating a concurrence to the Transsib of which only a small part passes through Russia (and entitles to passage fees) brings extra profit.

(By the way, there is a broad-gauge freight railway from Ukraine through Poland right until Ostrava/Czech Republic, so the gauge-changing problems can be bypassed the other way too.)

Think about it, standing at the new Berlin Hbf and looking at the big screen: Beijing, 40 hours. :D

I dream of that, too :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 06:00:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was surprised to see the rail lines in India are broad guage.  I thought Indian Railways was built by the British.  What did I miss?  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Tue Mar 21st, 2006 at 10:47:03 PM EST
Most British colonial railways, and even railways in Ireland (which was treated as a colony anyway) weren't built in standard gauge. Partly because the first were built when standard gauge wasn't yet standard even in core countries (prominent examples: the Great Western Railway in England and the Erie and Lackawanna railways in the USA had to be re-gauged later!), partly because these started out as isolated railways and there was one or other economic benefit to a different gauge.

The two most widely used British colonial gauges: the more wide-spread 'Cap-gauge' of 1067 mm (3'6") which allowed cheaper construction, and the broad-gauge of 1676 mm (5'6") which allowed higher loads and more stability against cyclonic winds. The latter was used by the British almost exclusively on the Indian subcontinent, but elsewhere also widely: parts of Argentina, Chile, Canada - and, also with the silly wind argument, the Bay Area Rapid Transit in California! (And the Iberian peninsula uses 1668 mm (5'5.5"), Russia and neighbours 1520-1524 mm (5'), Ireland has nd some parts of Australia had yet another broad gauge: 1600 mm (5'3"), and the Great Western had 2140 mm (7'0.25").)

To complicate matters, much of the Indian colonial network was narrow-gauge, but instead of Cap-, metre-gauge (3'3.37"). However, in today's India, there is an on-going major re-gauging programme from metre- to broad-gauge (and new lines are constructed in broad-gauge).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 05:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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