The Day The Gauge Changed

The Day The Gauge Changed

SUBTITLE'S INFO:

Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 298

Number of words: 1977

Number of symbols: 9293

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES:

DOWNLOAD AUDIO AND VIDEO:

SUBTITLES:

Subtitles generated by robot
00:00
between 1863 and 1869 three American railway companies completed a project to connect the existing East Coast railway network with railroads on the west coast the 1912 miles of track including nineteen tunnels through granite mountains that were needed to complete the Transcontinental Railroad was an amazing engineering feat for a country that already had more miles of railway than the rest of the world combined and yet the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad was not the only amazing feat of American railroad
00:30
engineering in history because in 1886 railways in the south managed to convert the gauge on an estimated 11,500 miles of railway track in a period of just 36 hours it is a little-known piece of American railroad history that deserves to be remembered the development of rail transport that eventually evolved into modern railways started with the carts used to move or in mineral extraction develop largely in the 16th century in Europe early tracks used wooden rails
01:02
but as technology developed cast-iron and then rock iron rails replaced the wooden rails rails called plate ways which used l-shaped rails with the upper side of the L holding the wheels in place developed in the 18th century but as the weight of the railway carts increased the plate weighs proved too fragile rails with a flat rail and a flanged railway wheel became the norm in the early part of the 19th century as railways became more common and Scottish inventor James Watts improvement of a steam engine allowed for the successful development of steam locomotives to pull
01:31
railway cars but the development of edge rails and steam locomotives pressed another issue that of railway gauge track gauge represents the spacing of the rails on a railway track and is measured between the interfaces of the load bearing rails plate ways are relatively forgiving of car axle widths although gauge is still meaningful in rails require a fairly precise fit of the flanged wheel to the track engage becomes more important as cars and locomotives built for one gauge will not fit on tracks for another gauge track gauge is an important factor wider
02:03
gauges are more stable and generally allow heavier loads but are more expensive requiring heavier cars and locomotives and a larger right-of-way narrower gauges are less stable but carry smaller cars and you a smaller right-of-way in Great Britain that led to a conflict in the first half of the 19th century between the 7 foot or broad-gauge of the Great Western Railway and the 4 foot 8 and 1/2 inch standard gauged used by the Liverpool in Manchester and London and Birmingham railways the so called gauge wars were an economic competition over control of lines but the cost of transferring goods
02:34
at the point were incompatible lines met called the break of gauge finally forced Parliament to act the regulating the gauge of Railways Act of 1846 stipulated that new lines would be made on the standard gauge unless they were directly connected to the current broad gauge network in many ways the standard gauge is a reasonable compromise in fact research on ancient Roman roads suggests they used a very similar axle width on their wagons and chariots well the demands of wagons and trains are somewhat different they're both gauged on the size of human
03:04
beings wagon with an axle width of 4 foot eight and a half inches comfortably fits two passengers side-by-side a railway car built for a four foot eight and a half inch gauge comfortably fits two passengers on either side separated by a central aisle the United States started adopting rail in the 18th century and by the mid 1820s had established common carriers like the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad while there was relatively more rail development in the more industrialized north railroads were also developed in the south where the South Carolina canal and railroad company became the first railroad to
03:36
operate a locomotive to be built entirely within the United States for railway service while railways in the United States started out using a number of different gauges in general railways in the North tended to use the standard gauge whereas railways in the south developed on a 5-foot or broader rail that better fit cars that were built to carry cotton bales at first this wasn't a problem as there was not a lot of rail commerce between the north and south although the difference did play a role in delaying funding for the Transcontinental Railroad as in 1860 representatives from the south were
04:07
advocating for a more southerly route the coming of the Civil War meant that the southern representatives were no longer a concern and Congress passed the Pacific Railroad act in 1862 that not only guaranteed the central route for the Transcontinental Railroad but stipulated that the entire route would be built on the standard gauge the Union was able to leverage the large rail network during the war and the Union blockade contributed to a decline in southern rail as they could not get new equipment to in spare parts but the difference in gauges did make it more difficult for the Union to move troops
04:37
by rail in the south after the war during the period of reconstruction trade between the north and south grew substantially the southern railroad system was largely repaired and expanded but the gauge difference started to become more of an obstacle at first cars had to be laborious ly unloaded and reloaded at the point of break of gauge then an ingenious device called the Ramsey car apparatus was used to change the trucks under a car without having to reload the cargo still the process was expensive and took time in 1884 and 1885 two lines that operated in both the
05:08
north and south the Illinois Central and the Mobile in Ohio switched to a standard gauge this allowed them to be more efficient and put pressure on other Southern Railways to compete in February of 1886 operating officers of this house railroads met in Atlanta and agreed to change the southern gauge curiously they did not adopt the standard for for an 8 and 1/2 inch gauge but the slightly broader four foot nine inch gauge used by the Pennsylvania Railroad with which many of the southern lines connected while trains from the two gauges were largely compatible it was short-sighted
05:40
of the committee not to move to the four foot eight and a half inch gauge that as the track gauge of the Transcontinental Railroad was clearly the gauge of the future still the Commission went with the four foot nine inch Pennsylvania gauge understand the sheer magnitude of this process not only did they have to convert some 11,500 miles of rail but also all the locomotives and rolling stock and as trains would not be able to operate during the switch it was important that the switchover occur as quickly as possible the date for the switch was set between
06:09
Monday May 31st and Tuesday June 1st that gave just four months to prepare for the massive undertaking only one rail had to be moved so rails all along the way were marked for the new gauge using a three inch length of pipe as many as two and three of the spikes on the inside of the rail were removed move to the new gauge and partially hammered ready for when the rail was to be moved where possible axles on the rolling stock were modified ahead of time some engines were mounted with plate shaped wheels turned out it fit the old gauge on the day of the switch the wheel would be reversed
06:40
and fit the new gage some axles were laid for the new gage and had a ring added to hold the wheel at the old gage during the switch the ring was removed and the wheel moved to the new gage lays were positioned along the lines in order to convert rolling stock that could not be modified ahead of time in some cases new tools were invented such as a circular pipe that could be hooked into a city Gas Works creating a torch to modify axles as the date approached lens it could be easily cleared of traffic were converted when the day came and the lines were cleared crews started working at 3:30 a.m. the crews have pulled the
07:12
spikes move the rails to the mark spot in hammer new spikes some lines gave crews a mileage quota others had a crew a direction and told them to stop when they ran into a crew working the other direction some lines gave bonuses for extra miles converted although that meant that some of the work was sloppily done trains were prepared with the new gage carrying an extra work crew the Train serves as a test of the line and if it caught up with a crew that was behind schedule the extra crew could jump out and assist to get back on schedule the work was done with amazing speed in a period of just 36 hours virtually the entirety of the southern
07:43
railway lines an estimated 11,500 miles worth as well as their locomotives and cars had been converted the work was done so economically and so quietly the Journal of the Association of engineer societies noted that the public hardly realized it was in progress the ability to make such a massive change in such a short period of time with so little disruption is a testament to the value of the planning one of the railways had managed to shut down a 200 mile length of track early and so they had trained all their crews on the process before the critical day came presetting crews
08:14
and support equipment and testing processes was critical in short planning guaranteed success the cost of the switch was about $100 per mile of track which is a roughly the equivalent of $2,100 in today's dollars and that was easily made up with the increased efficiency the gauge change is part of the Golden Age of American rail and came during a dynamic period in American history when railroads were helping to facilitate a massive economic shift in 1880 nearly half of the u.s. workforce worked in agriculture while only one in
08:44
seven worked in manufacturing by 1920 agriculture and manufacturing represented almost equal shares of the workforce but the immediate impact of this which was somewhat surprising the increased standardization should have resulted in lower shipping costs because of greater efficiency by the 2016 analysis of route level traffic data I determined that while the switch move some commerce from River boats to railways overall freight traffic did not increase the reason anti-competitive practices on the part of the railroad cartels kept them from passing on the
09:16
savings terms of lower shipping costs the railway owners just pocketed the savings the analysis suggests that if they passed on just fifty percent of the savings in terms of lower shipping costs it would caused an overall 10 percent increase in overall trade ironically it was the same level of cooperation that an economic incentive that allowed the switch to be made so quickly and efficiently that prevented the full realization of the value of the switch I'm the history guide I hope you enjoyed this edition of my series of short snippets of forgotten history about 10
09:46
minutes long and if you did enjoy please go ahead and click that thumbs up button which is there on it's handy questions or comments feel free to write those in the comment section I will be happy to personally respond and if you'd like more snippets about history all you need to do is subscribe

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES: