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sassnetguy50
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Copied from the American Chuck Wagon Association page.
It is entertaining even if it isn’t true.

 

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?
Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads.
Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
So, why did 'they' use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that same 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 more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England . You see, 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 (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
And what about the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with this?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses' asses.)
Now, the twist to the story:
When you 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 in 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, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, 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 a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything......
Edited by sassnetguy50
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This has been around a long time, but every time someone tries to refute it it is determined that the person doing the refuting has no clue and usually they are some bureaucrat with an agenda…ironic. 

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How about this for refuting it?

 

There are a good half-dozen gauge sizes in the US alone. Probably that many or more in Europe.

 

Now if every railroad track in the world was the same gauge then maybe - MAYBE - there might be some truth to this.

 

But with all the different railroad track gauge widths, I believe this falls in with

Store High In Transit

Port Out, Starboard Home and

For Unlicensed Carnal Knowledge

 

Urban legends

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Every class A railroad in North America and Europe uses the standard gauge.  If another Gauge is used it is used only at that particular facility because narrower or wider can not run on standard gauge.  So if you are going to ship something cross country it would have to be standard gauge.  So while there are lots of track gauges most of those are used in mines or short lines.  The Equipment then being proprietary to that property.  In order to ship cross country from those properties the commodity is delivered to a terminal and then reloaded onto a standard gauge car.  

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https://magazine.engineerjobs.com/2015/3-engineering-urban-myths.htm

High points:
The legions didn't use massive numbers of chariots.  Even wagons weren't all that plentiful for the legions.
In the US early on there were a score of different gauges in use.

 

I did run across this interesting bit:

https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/ancient-roman-road-repair-0423/

 

 

Roman road works were really sophisticated, and their maintenance was no different, as we’ve learned from a new study published in the American Journal of Archaeology. During a 2014 survey of Pompeii’s streets, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Texas at Austin were surprised when they consistently found iron between and below paving stones of the city’s most important streets.

“Recent research on the costs of paving stone streets in terms of time, money, and opportunity provides the economic context for this novel repair process and shows the use of iron and iron slag to have been an expedient alternative,” the authors wrote in their study.

Like other major towns, most of Pompeii’s streets were paved with stone. However, the passage of carts on a daily basis eroded the stones, forming deep holes and ruts which are still easily visible to this day. In fact, over a century and a half ago, the American satirist Mark Twain based his complaints about the corruption of city officials at Pompeii on these cavities:

“Have I not seen with my own eyes how for two hundred years at least the pavements were not repaired! – how ruts five and even ten inches deep were worn into the thick flagstones by the chariot-wheels of generations of swindled tax-payers? … I wish I knew the name of the last one that held office in Pompeii so that I could give him a blast. I speak with feeling on this subject, because I caught my foot in one of those ruts, and the sadness that came over me when I saw the first poor skeleton, with ashes and lava sticking to it, was tempered by the reflection that may be that party was the Street Commissioner,” he wrote.

Although the Romans were quite advanced in their public works (and corruption was indeed a problem in Roman society), Twain was perhaps not aware of how complicated road repair during that time could be. Repaving the street was out of the question in most situations — it was simply too expensive and time-consuming. If a narrow street was damaged, traffic could be blocked for months until specialists finished repaving the street.

Examples of iron fillings and drops on Pomepii's ancient stone-paved streets. Credit: Eric Poehler. Examples of iron fillings and drops on Pomepii’s ancient stone-paved streets. Credit: Eric Poehler.

In Pompeii, at least, the Romans devised a creative solution to their problem. The city’s engineers heated iron to a molten state, then poured the material onto, into, and below the eroded paving stones. Hundreds of individual street repairs were discovered thus far in the city.

The molten iron was poured alongside other filler materials such as stone, grounded terracotta, and ceramics. Once the metal cooled down, the whole mash solidified to completely fill and cover holes. According to the archaeologists, this method was much cheaper and quicker than repaving a street.

It’s not exactly clear how the Romans carried out such repairs, but the researchers have some clues. We know that the iron would have needed to heat to about 1,600ºC (2,912ºF), a temperature which Roman furnaces could accommodate. Iron drops were found on sections of the street that didn’t require repair, suggesting that it was accidentally spilled while being carried, a task likely reserved for slaves.

In the future, the researchers hope to analyze the chemical composition of the iron from the street filings to find its source. They would also like to survey more Pompeii streets.

Edited by Subdeacon Joe
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2 hours ago, Alpo said:

How about this for refuting it?

 

There are a good half-dozen gauge sizes in the US alone. Probably that many or more in Europe.

 

Now if every railroad track in the world was the same gauge then maybe - MAYBE - there might be some truth to this.

 

But with all the different railroad track gauge widths, I believe this falls in with

Store High In Transit

Port Out, Starboard Home and

For Unlicensed Carnal Knowledge

 

Urban legends

Really? Name the railroads that use different gauges in the USA. I’ll wait…and I am not talking about little Foamer railroads. 

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24 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Really? Name the railroads that use different gauges in the USA. I’ll wait…and I am not talking about little Foamer railroads. 

 

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track_gauge_in_the_United_States

 

https://www.trains.com/trn/train-basics/abcs-of-railroading/a-history-of-track-gauge/

 

https://railroad.lindahall.org/essays/rails-guage.html

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

There were other gauges long in the past. Not today. 
 

Damn Auto communista 

 

Late 1800s isn't long in the past.

 

But, the fact of the existence of those multiple gauges in the 1800s is a strong argument against the Roman chariot story.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Really? Name the railroads that use different gauges in the USA. I’ll wait…and I am not talking about little Foamer railroads. 

 

Ever heard of the Pennsylvania trolley gauge? Still in use by the"

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority 

Port Authority of Allegheny County

And some others

 

Washington DC Metro system is 4' 8 1/4"

San Francisco cable cars are 3' 6"

 

map below shows the dominate rail gauge by color. Seems there are a lot of different ones still in use.

 

Rail gauge by country

 

World map, rail gauge by region

 

 

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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17 hours ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

 

Late 1800s isn't long in the past.

 

But, the fact of the existence of those multiple gauges in the 1800s is a strong argument against the Roman chariot story.  

 

 

It is an argument however, not a strong one.  The existence of multiple gauges is more a product of greed than anything else.  The idea that if you want to use my railroad you must use my rolling stock as well, was well established in the early 1800's.  By the late 1860's the at that time Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads controlled overland freight between Omaha and San Francisco and simply started charging the originating railroad a premium to trans load to their rolling stock.  After the Civil War and by the early 1870"s few freight hauling railroads failed to use standard gauge mostly for those economic reasons.  The same can be said of narrow gauge railroads they used narrow gauge because of the cost of building wider road bed in most cases out weighed the cost of trans-loading.  This is essentially what happened but isn't nearly as simple as I make it here lots of other things came into play.  Chariot's were pretty much out of style by the mid 1800's anyway.

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51 minutes ago, twelve mile REB said:

Chariot's were pretty much out of style by the mid 1800's anyway.

 

Chariots were pretty much "out of style" by the time of the Roman Republic.

 

The Model T Ford had a track width of 56", unless you ordered the 60" Southern Roads version. 

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My boss is a real car guy, so I asked him what the average track on a car is.  He didn't know, so he broke out a tape and we went an measured.  His F250 is about 70".  A Tesla 3 is about 60".  My Nissan Leaf is about 58". A Honda something was 57".  

A '54 Bel Air, front track is 56.7", rear track 58.7".

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40 minutes ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

My boss is a real car guy, so I asked him what the average track on a car is.  He didn't know, so he broke out a tape and we went an measured.  His F250 is about 70".  A Tesla 3 is about 60".  My Nissan Leaf is about 58". A Honda something was 57".  

A '54 Bel Air, front track is 56.7", rear track 58.7".

You left out the 1959 Pontiac WideTrack of 64"

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14 minutes ago, Arkansas Harper SASS #33169 said:

If I remember correctly, Roman chariot were pulled by two horses, therefore the spacing was the width of two horses asses hitched together.

 

 

That is my story and I am sticking two it.

 

Arkansas Harper 33169

So the question is really about how wide is a horse's ass and has it grown bigger over the years like humans have?

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20 minutes ago, sassnetguy50 said:

So the question is really about how wide is a horse's ass and has it grown bigger over the years like humans have?

 

 

  .... humans in general, ... or just a certain part of their our anatomy ?   :huh:

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Wallaby Jack, SASS #44062
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48 minutes ago, Alpo said:

According to Charlton Heston, the Romans used four-horse chariots.

 

 

Clearly Charlton and his fellow competitors used souped up chariots to gain extra “horsepower”.  
 

Seamus

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