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  • Railroads

    Does the statement, "We've always done it like that" ring any bells? Read this you'll love it!!



    The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?

    Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built 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 used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

    Okay! 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 (and England)
    for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

    And the ruts in the roads?

    Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
    The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever.

    So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman army
    chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.


    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 at 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.

    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 ass.


    - And -
    You thought being a HORSE'S ASS wasn't important!


    18th SF Operational Detachment Delta

  • #2
    Re: Railroads

    LOL! nice!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Railroads

      DOH! Not quite.. I almost sent that to some of our engineers.. until.. this.

      Originally posted by Snopes
      This is one of those items that -- although wrong in many of its details — isn't exactly false in an overall sense and is perhaps more fairly labelled as "True, but for trivial and unremarkable reasons."
      sigpic


      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Railroads

        I'm suffering from deja vu. This is one of those stories that has circulated for years. The snopes page is actually quite interesting though.
        Peace through fear... since 1947!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Railroads

          Busted. Had to be an engineer that shows up in the forums.:icon19:


          18th SF Operational Detachment Delta

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Railroads

            Thanks for spoiling all of our fun, p8riot!!

            :)
            "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
            He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

            - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Railroads

              Originally posted by TG_Bubba View Post
              Busted. Had to be an engineer that shows up in the forums.:icon19:
              LOL! Well.. yeah (sheepishly). I MUST check EVERYTHING I send out project related or otherwise.. it a reputation thing.. DOH! Too bad I don't do that with what I post at TG!! LOL!
              sigpic


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              • #8
                Re: Railroads

                Here.. since I seemed to have killed the thread.. Here was a fun bit I ran across..

                Originally posted by ElReg
                On Friday afternoons, young American males who buy diapers (nappies) also have a predisposition to buy beer. No one had predicted that result, so no one would ever have even asked the question in the first place. Hence, this is an excellent example of the difference between data mining and querying.
                More on this here.
                sigpic


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                • #9
                  Re: Railroads

                  It is still quite interesting.
                  Slow is Smooth. Smooth is Fast!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Railroads

                    I am more likely to buy beer on a Friday night if I stop to get anything on the way home from work, therefore if diapers were needed, the correlation would hold true for me. The thing is, I would then take that beer and go out, so the connection between fatherhood and being stuck at home is not valid. :)

                    The beer store is next to some railroad tracks, so this is still on topic.
                    Peace through fear... since 1947!

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