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CarelessHisser t1_iyiqsb8 wrote

Honestly the maps surprises me.

I'd think the rail gauges for China and Russia would be the same given how they've been increasing trade between the country for a while now. I think there was even a major railway completed not too long ago from Machuria to Russia.


jazzman23uk t1_iyitn6c wrote

China amd Russia actually have different rail gauges - 1435mm vs 1524mm

China's first trains were a gift from Britain, the origin of Standard Gauge, and so China's railways were presumably built to fit the imported British trains.

Russia shared no railway commerce with Britain so no necessity to fit British trains. Urban legend states that Russia's gauge is different intentionally in order to prevent foreign trains from running on their tracks, thereby helping thwart invasions. Whether that's true or not? Seems unlikely, but then it is Russia...


Unknown_Ladder t1_iyjvaba wrote

Broad rail gauges offer the advantage of higher speed and weight capacity. it made sense for Russia to establish a broad gauge due to it being a big country with a spread out population where speed was more important. I think that's also why the south had a bigger gauge since the south is more spread out.


jazzman23uk t1_iyjxt5f wrote

I mean, you're not wrong, but China isn't exactly small... And China currently has the world's fastest train. South Africa uses tiny 3'6" tracks. Even the Japanese bullet trains use a standard 4'8" gauge somehow.

Britain did have the 'true' Broad Gauge railway network for GWR, being the good ol' 7'1/2", which didn't get adopted despite Britain being entirely dependent on the rail network back then. Things would've been a lot more comfortable if we'd gone the broad gauge route


koolaideprived t1_iyjxy49 wrote

If a country is a potential enemy, you don't want to have the same rail gauge because then an invading force can use your rail to move military supplies straight from home territory during an invasion.

Spain still runs (or at least the last time I was there) on a separate gauge from the rest of Europe, a holdover from wwii era.


valeyard89 t1_iykcsg6 wrote

that's the issue Ukraine has right now, Russia has been using their rail network to resupply.


koolaideprived t1_iykdtkd wrote

Yeah, I'm assuming all former soviet bloc use the same gauge.


valeyard89 t1_iykcbte wrote

yeah crossing the border on the transsiberian from China to Mongolia, they lift up the train cars and swap out wheels (bogies).