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Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 7:11 AM
Myrtonos Myrtonos is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 19
Converting uncommon track width to regular gauges

A regular gauge is a gauge compatible with standardised rolling stock, examples are metre, standard and soviet gauges. But there are some tramway and railway networks that have unusual or even unique gauges.
A classic case is Toronto, where the streetcar and subway track networks are built to a unique gauge wider than standard by about the width of the railhead. The only possible dual gauge track between the Toronto gauge and standard gauge is interlaced track, with extra minimum clearence relative to the width of the loading gauge.
The Toronto streetcar system is also the largest legacy system in North America and is interconnected, with two depots, all but two routes being mostly east-west and both depots serving all east-west routes.
Toronto's Transit Commission has plans to convert from trolley-pole to pantograph current collection and replace single-bladed points with double bladed points, doing both a little at a time, conversion of their track width to standard gauge is not something that can be done a little at a time and is not going to happen even though there is no intrinsic case for the gauge to remain. I'm not even advocating a conversion that is too costly with too much disruption.
Toronto's Transit City Light rail, if ever built, will be standard gauge. With completely new rolling stock on completely new track, the gauge is chosen according to external factors.

The Pennsylvania trolley gauge, also wider than standard differs enough that three-rail dual gauge track is possible. The Pittsburgh light rail used to be a streetcar system with looped unidirectional running and trolley-pole current collection and ran mostly on-street including downtown.
Pittsburgh's T has migrated from trolleypole to pantograph current collection, new off-street track has been added (including underground downtown track), most off-street track no longer being in use, and now only has bi-directional rolling stock, presumably, all turning loops are gone. But the track gauge has remained the same. And given the additional customisation of rolling stock due to gauge (mainly the bogies), how can changing gauge "lack any real benefit"?

I would like to see some railfan vlogger make a documentary on track gauge, and maybe other track geometry issues, including a section on dual gauge track and even why changing gauge is often more complicated than it's worth.
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Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 11:35 AM
tayser's Avatar
tayser tayser is online now
Vires acquirit eundo
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 3,129
I don't see the point in having any type of standard, or more to the point, push to rip up streets to make tracks a standard gauge across cities whose systems are not connected (and in different countries). Rail vehicle manufacturers should be able to cater for an individual system's needs and if they can't then they're not doing their job properly.

The rails may be the same distance apart, but nearly every city will have a different loading gauge .: an obsession with track gauge standards is just meh.
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