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rogerfarnworth

Understanding Japan's Track and Loading Gauges

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ben_issacs

Folks, 

On this forum, and many other railway discussion sites, the 3'-6" gauge is referred to as 'Cape Gauge'.

This seems to imply that this gauge was first used in Southern Africa at Capetown.

This isn't so.

The first railway to operate in Southern Africa, was in the Colony of Natal, it was the Natal Railway company and began operation in June of 1860, and was built to a gauge of 4'-8 1/2" , Standard gauge.

It was followed within the next couple of months by the Cape Town to Wellington Railway, in the adjacent Cape Colony, again to Standard gauge.

So Southern Africa's first railways were of standard gauge!

The first railway to 3'-6" gauge was away across the other side of the world, in Norway.

The Norwegian State system (NSR) was standard gauge, but at that time there was much discussion by railway engineers in Europe on the need for a gauge intermediate between the small plantation and local narrow gauge railways and the main line systems.

The CME (Chief Mech. Engineer) of the NSR was Karl Augustus Phil, who was in touch with British engineers , and who decided to adopt this medium gauge for Norway, not, strangely, in  even metric measurement (1 metre), but in the British measurement of 3'-6", (1067mm).

Other Norwegian secondary lines were constructed to this gauge and seeing the successful operation of these lines, it began to be used in other places which required railways, but not the high cost, standard gauge lines, often British colonies.

The next system to this gauge was in the colony of Queensland, in Australia, which began operating in 1865.

Then in 1871,    Russia and two railways in the Toronto area of Canada; followed in 1872 in Japan.

1873, New Zealand, 1875 Rio Tinto, Spain, it was not  until 1876 that the 3'-6" gauge came to Southern Africa, when the Cape Colony and Natal Govts.  opened their first 3'-6" gauge lines, being re-gauging of their existing standard gauge systems.

When the adjacent Dutch Republics, the Transvaal and Orange Free State built railways, they adopted the 3'-6" gauge, which they called 'Kaap' (Cape in English) spoor, which may be the origin of the  general term 'Cape Gauge', 'KAAP Spoor' being the title used in both the Dutch and German languages.

Another possible reason for the use of 'Cape gauge' is Karl Augustus Phil's initials KAP, giving KAP's gauge, but this theory does not have much traction. 

However, the single syllable 'Cape' is quicker to write and say than the two syllable 'Norwegian', so I suspect that 'Cape' gauge is here to stay!

But, I don't think that it's use is general for 3'-6" gauge railways worldwide, I've never heard it used here in Australia, nor in New Zealand for the railways in those countries of that gauge, and I much doubt its use in Japan.

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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Socimi

I think it's named "Cape gauge" because at the time, south africa had the largest network with this gauge, among english-speaking countries; depsite not being the one used for the first railways there.

 

Similarily, the 1327mm gauge (wich as of today is used only in Japan, on the Keio railway network, the Toei Shinjuku Subway Line and the Toden Arakawa, Tokyu Setagaya and Hakodate tramway lines) is known as the "scotch gauge" because it was largely diffused in scotland between the 1830s and the 1860s, altough not being the first used there, as the first was the 1219mm gauge of the Kilmanrock and Troon Railway (nowdays the only railway using this gauge is the Glasgow Subway, wich opened in 1896).

 

Also the railways that use mainly 1067mm gauge might refer to it as "their own standard gauge" (to differentiate from the "international standard gauge"), or more probably they refer to it (and to other gauges) as "1067mm, 1435mm" and so on...

Edited by Socimi
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Densha

I merged a new topic on track gauges into an already existing topic. Please keep discussion about the same subject at the same place.

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ben_issacs

Mark,

Over the weekend went through my references(?) Stacks of books, piles of paper, and couldn't find any mention of official requirement to build to less than 3'-6" in the 1880's.

So, I was incorrect!

However, I see in 'A History of Japanese Railways' a mention that in 1880, the Minister of Finance approved the construction of private railways, but no specific gauge requirements were asked for

Whilst the Iyo Company and the others that you mentioned built to less than 3'-6", the private Nippon Railway Co. which was set up in 1881 used 3'-6", so certainly no gauge limitations.

Regards, 

Bill.

 

 

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ben_issacs

Roger, 

A little bit on Chinese and Japanese writing.

Many years ago, Japanese scholars adopted the Chinese system of writing, called Kanji in Japan and Hanzi in China,

The characters have the same meanings in both languages, but different pronunciations.

To simplify writing, the scholars then invented two systems, Hiragana and Katakana, which are true alphabets, based on Syllables.

Japanese grammar is different from Chinese, and is written in Hiragana. Katakana is used for foreign words.

In truth, the Kanji characters are not needed in Japan, everything could be written in Hiragana or Katakana.

But, the Japanese being great respecters of tradition, stick to a mixture of Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana.

Thus, school children have to learn three systems of writing, often English as well!

Poor Kids!

As an exercise, I've tried to put your name into Katakana, which you would need if you ever travelled to Japan.

Here it is: This won't be in the Katakana characters, but in the English versions of them.

Roger Farnsworth, becomes :rojiya fuarunasuwateho.

No doubt one of our Japanese speakers can give a more elegant version, but Farnsworth is a difficult word  to put into Katakana, the 'worth' bit isn't easy.

Regards'

Biru (Bill)

Melbourne.

 

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rogerfarnworth

I have been looking at the Kurobe Gorge (762mm) Railway and wondered whether someone might be able to clarify for me whether, when the line was extended for the construction of the Kurobe Dam, the old line from Unazuki up the Gorge was reconstructed as well.

Edited by rogerfarnworth

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rogerfarnworth
On 1/22/2019 at 10:02 PM, ben_issacs said:

Roger, 

A little bit on Chinese and Japanese writing.

Many years ago, Japanese scholars adopted the Chinese system of writing, called Kanji in Japan and Hanzi in China,

The characters have the same meanings in both languages, but different pronunciations.

To simplify writing, the scholars then invented two systems, Hiragana and Katakana, which are true alphabets, based on Syllables.

Japanese grammar is different from Chinese, and is written in Hiragana. Katakana is used for foreign words.

In truth, the Kanji characters are not needed in Japan, everything could be written in Hiragana or Katakana.

But, the Japanese being great respecters of tradition, stick to a mixture of Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana.

Thus, school children have to learn three systems of writing, often English as well!

Poor Kids!

As an exercise, I've tried to put your name into Katakana, which you would need if you ever travelled to Japan.

Here it is: This won't be in the Katakana characters, but in the English versions of them.

Roger Farnsworth, becomes :rojiya fuarunasuwateho.

No doubt one of our Japanese speakers can give a more elegant version, but Farnsworth is a difficult word  to put into Katakana, the 'worth' bit isn't easy.

Regards'

Biru (Bill)

Melbourne.

 

Bill thank you for this. I might well struggle with the pronunciation!

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ben_issacs

Roger, 

I might try a simpler translation of 'Farnsworth'.

I'm Biru in Japanese, but that well known alcoholic drink 'beer' is 'biiru', the two 'ii's' giving the English 'ee' sound.

Some times if I say my name to a Japanese person, they'll say 'Ah, Mr. Beer"!

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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Sheffie

It seems that we could model a 3ft “narrow gauge” railway, perhaps a mining railway for example, by installing some Z gauge track onto an N gauge layout. 

 

INTERESTING

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cteno4

Yep z gauge track and mechs are used a lot for doing narrow gauge. Some folks use it for cape gauge and redo the trucks of their n scale trains to narrow the wheel base to fit on z gauge track. One of the forum members was 3D printing some small shells for z gauge mechs for other narrow gauge. Of course there are some that want to be perfect and lay their own track, but cape gauge at 1/150 is 7.1mm so very close to 6.5mm z gauge.

 

jeff

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rogerfarnworth
On 2/11/2019 at 12:41 PM, ben_issacs said:

Roger, 

I might try a simpler translation of 'Farnsworth'.

I'm Biru in Japanese, but that well known alcoholic drink 'beer' is 'biiru', the two 'ii's' giving the English 'ee' sound.

Some times if I say my name to a Japanese person, they'll say 'Ah, Mr. Beer"!

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

Hi Bill, is it easier if you drop the 's' in the surname? I pick up the extra  letter in my surname quite often! :-)🙂

Edited by rogerfarnworth

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rogerfarnworth

Hello again

 

I produced the blog below a while ago now after the conversation on this thread. I may not have all the facts right and would appreciate any constructive comments/criticism.

 

On other forum, I have used this introduction to the blog post.. .......

 

Cape Gauge was used in many countries throughout the world. It has been identified primarily with the Cape Colony in South Africa but was used first in the UK on a variety of tramways and was also significant in railway history in Norway. Later its use extended into a number of countries in the Far East including New Zealand, Indonesia and in particular Japan.

Cape Gauge was chosen as the 'standard gauge' in Japan. This post provides an introduction to the historic railways of Japan. The story includes a variety of different gauges. The use of different gauges seems at least as complex as the situation in the UK.

This post is an introduction to the railways of Japan and centres around the use of Cape Gauge. ........


https://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/01/09/japanese-railway-history-cape-gauge

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ben_issacs

Folks, 

It's interesting to consider why some countries used rail gauges that didn't seem to fit in with their common systems of measurement.

In the then British colony of Malaya, the gauge was metre, but this would have been to tie up with adjacent Siam (Thailand).

In the Netherland East Indies (Indonesia), the Dutch used 3'-6", not the expected metre.

The NEI railways had some quite hefty steam  locos, 2-8-8-2 and 2-6-6-2 Mallets, much bigger than anything seen in Japan, very impressive machines.

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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ben_issacs

Folks, 

Nationalisation of the major private railways in Japan took place in Sept. of 1906, at that time there were 17 such railways, with a total route kilometreage of 4.542, (2,839 miles).

The major members of this group were the Nippon Railway, Ueno-Aomori, 1,384 km. route: Kyushu Railway, Moji-Nagasaki-Yatsushiro, 717 km.:Sanyo Railway, Kobe-Shimonoseki, 687 km.: Kansai Railway, Osaka-Nagoya, 452 km.: Hokkaido Coal Mining and Railway, Hakodate, Otaru, Muroran, Sorachibuto, 334km.

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne

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ben_issacs

Roger, 

Going through a pile of papers, I found a sheet with a diagram headed 'Comparison of Loading Gauge' apparently put out at some time by JNR.

There are diagrams for nine  railways, all on the one drawing very difficult to read some of them.

However, it has 'Japanese Government Railways (Narrow Gauge) as one diagram.

The diagrams give dimensions only for the heights above rail head and the overall width.

No dimensions are given for the various changes of shape, some of which are quite complex.

For The Japanese N.G., height is 4,100mm, width is 3,000mm.

The diagram shape is largely rectangular with a curved top, for which no radius is given.

As a  comparison for South Manchuria (SG.), the height is 4.724mm, width 3, 250mm and for Korean Govt. also SG, height 4,650mm and width 3,658mm .

Interestingly the KGR measurements are given on the diagram in feet and inches, namely 15ft.6 inches  height and 12ft. width.

It would be of interest to compare the JR gauge with that of British Rail.

 Regards,

Bill, 

Melbourne  

 

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rogerfarnworth
Posted (edited)

Bill

 

This is an interesting webpage which gives some historic information on loading gauges in the UK.

 

Regards

 

Roger

Edited by rogerfarnworth

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ben_issacs

Roger, 

Thanks for the info on loading gauges, but it doesn't seem to give dimensions for the British W5 gauge,  which is apparently the nominal standard.

Or have I missed it somewhere in the tables?

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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rogerfarnworth

Interesting, Ben. I have just been looking at what can be found on the Internet. W5 no longer features in current loading gauge information, c.f. ....

GERT8073 Iss 3.pdf

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ben_issacs

Roger, 

Had a look at the pre-grouping loading gauge diagrams, thanks for these.

The proposed British Standard Loading Gauge  is pretty close to the present Japanese 3'-6" loading gauge, but did that become the BR Standard?

REgards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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rogerfarnworth

Hi Ben

 

Someone may well be more knowledgeable than me but I think the W5 gauge has become W6a. Does any one else know better?

 

Best wishes

 

Roger

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