The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

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Friday, November 19, 2004


Home of So Few Transit Links Than You can Possibly Check(tm), Unless you have no life other than websurfing

Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds. Einstein

IMPORTANT NOTE: FOC's ("Friends of the Cabal") (you know, like "FOB's"--"Friends of Bill" [Clinton]) have now all been promoted to "Adjuct Scholars" of The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. You know, like Wendell Cox, Randal O'Toole, et al are "Adjunct Scholars" (sic) to the Reason Foundation, the Buckeye Institute, the Cascade Policy Institute, and 500+ other conservative/libertarian "Think (sic) Tanks". Congratulations, Dudez!

From the Cabalmaster:

Um, excuse us for getting technical, but sometimes we come across a whopper of an urban legend in cyberspace. Intrepid Websurfers are well aware that some of the stuff you find online is incomplete, inaccurate, or just plain wrong.

(Intrepid Websufers also know that you’ve got to watch out for “dezinformatiya,” for there’s a lot of that online.)

(We’re actually going to restrain ourselves! We’re not going to turn the admonition above into one of our cheap shots at Randal “Disasters” O’Toole, Tom “Entitles” Rubin, Peter “Blogger” Gordon, Dennis “Ozone” Polhill, Maggi “Underground” Fimia . . . or Wendell "Mr. Fudge" Cox!!)

(Oh, so you enjoy reading and giggling at those cheap shots?)

(Well, just don’t sit there; compose one or two of your own – suitable for a family-oriented blog, of course – and send it by e-mail!!)

Anyway: we found the following in an online “free encyclopedia” while researching a previous post: “The narrow gauge [“Cape Gauge, 1,067mm, or 3’6”] results in lateral instability and prevents the trains to run at higher speed.”

Although believed by many, this just “’tain’t so.”

IF the track is in reasonably good condition, narrow-gauge trains can be just as “laterally stable” as standard-gauge ones and can operate at quite high speeds. The secret – not widely known outside of transportation circles – is to build bogies (trucks) with a wheelbase (spacing between axles) LONGER than the track gauge (spacing between rails, and wheels) is WIDE. This has been found to provide substantial “lateral stability.”

And yes, there is a trade-off. Increasing the bogie (truck) wheelbase also increases the minimum required radius for curves. So “laterally stable” narrow-gauge trains might require extensive upgrading of existing infrastructure.


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