Exploring Why Most Countries Use Different Railway Gauges

Logic would dictate that there should be a universal gauge but this is not the case.
Loukia Papadopoulos

If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.

Have you ever wondered why different countries use different gauges? It is a logical question to ask. After all, especially in nearby countries, it would be easier to connect railways if they have the same gauge.

Today, about 60% of the world uses the standard 1,435mm gauge. The other 40% uses either a narrow gauge or a broad gauge. That makes for quite some differences worldwide! But that's not all. You can even find a mixture of gauges in the same country.

Does that sound rational to you? No, it does not. So why this difference? The answer to this question is a complicated one and takes into account the history of railway tracks.

In the early days of railways, there was no universal gauge standard. Instead, the makers of railways would simply build gauges according to their own designs. Tracks were built to link neighboring towns together or for private use. In that sense, they did not require to have similar gauges.

However, this would one day change. When did this change? And what was done with all the different gauges?

We won't answer these questions for you. You have to watch the video for that. What we will tell you though is that it answers any and all questions you may have about train gauges.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board