Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them
in England , and English expatriates designed the US railroads.
Why did the English build them like that? Because the first
rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad
tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.
Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then? Because the people who
built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used
for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would
break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because
that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.
So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the
first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their
legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all
alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States
standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the
original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.
Bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a
specification/procedure/process and wonder ‘What horse’s arse came up
with this?’ , you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots
were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war
horses. (Two horses’ arse’s.)
Now, the twist to the story:
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there
are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel
tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by
Thiokol at their factory in Utah
The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make
them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the
factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens
to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit
through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad
track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as
two horses’ behinds.
So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably
the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over
two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s arse. And you thought
being a horse’s arse wasn’t important? Ancient horse’s arse’s control
and CURRENT Horse’s Arse’s in Brussels, Washington and London are controlling
everything else! Probably here too on little PEI!!!!!
I do hope this has been helpful !!
God Bless and keep reading