Friday, July 1, 2011

Tracks found in downtown Kerrville are Standard Gauge.

Thanks to many readers of this column, but especially the chief of this blog's Ireland Department, Mr. John MacCrossan, I've learned something about railroad tracks.
As I've reported elsewhere, the tracks recently found in downtown Kerrrville measure 5 foot apart.  However, I measured from the centers of each rail, which, as I've learned, is incorrect.  The gauge of a railway is determined by measuring from the inside of each rail, as illustrated here:
So, ever the intrepid reporter, I journeyed back to the site and re-measured the tracks.  The distance between the two inside edges = 57 inches, or 4' 9".
The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad, which served Kerrville, was built to the "Standard" gauge, or 4' 8 1/2".  My measurement is off by 1/2".
I have a theory about this.  The rails found here last week are corroded, having been buried for at least 60 years, possibly longer.  If each rail has lost 1/4" thickness on the inside of the rail, then the original "gauge" of the track would have been 4' 8 1/2", or the Standard Gauge.
Therefore, I am confident in saying the tracks were Standard Gauge, or, when new, 4' 8 1/2" apart.
Thanks everyone for your kind comments and emails.
The distance between the inside of the 1st and 3rd track shown is 57 inches.
For more information about Joe's book, which has over 200 historic photographs
 of Kerrville, please click here.

1 comment:

  1. I miss that old Kerrville Train. You could hear its whistle over most of Kerrville.

    The engineers always waved to the children as the train passed by them.

    And, children were always putting coins on the track so that the train would flatten them; it did!


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