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


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...