Tag Archives: Rail transport

Wales and West Franchise: Playing Devil’s Advocate

Note that this is a piece I wrote for inclusion in the Heart of Wales Line Travellers Association newsletter. Essentially I am arguing for Welsh rural rail to be made part of an integrated rural transport serive, like a bucolic equivalent of the South Wales Metro or London Transport franchise.

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Railway Track Gauges: A Book Review and some Own Thoughts

I have just read the excellent “Tracks Across Continents – Paths Through History” by Douglas J Puffert (2009 University of Chicago Press). This book explains why the rail gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches has become dominant for mainline railways throughout the world. Track gauge is the distance between the inside faces of the two rails of a railway and, obviously, the rails have to be the same distance as the wheels of the train that runs on it. Traffic between any two point on a rail network will clearly be inconvenienced if different track gauges are needed for part of the journey as the cargo must be moved between two trains or somebody needs to perform a cunning “hack”to deal with this break of gauge.

Engineers have differing opinions as to what the ideal track gauge would have been, but many think a little more than the Stephenson Gauge (as Puffert calls it) would have been better.

Puffert, Tracks across Continents - Paths through History

Puffert, Tracks across Continents – Paths through History

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Ffestiniog Victorian Weekend – a formula for the Heart of Wales?

We all have certain events that we religiously visit. The Ffestiniog railway Victorian Weekend is one of those. Held on a weekend in the first half of October, The Victorian Weekend is, as far as I can ascertain, the unofficial end of season closing party of the Festy and is Jolly Good Fun. Continue reading

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