Re: Hoppers from early 20th century
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I looked at the width of the track and it (very) roughly looks like the center two rails are the same as the other tracks in the picture (4-81/2"+/-), leaving the outer rails at a wider gauge, maybe not quite 6'. You're right, they are too far out to support blind drivers.
There is a fair amount of curvature so there may have been some desire for guard rails and these could have been somewhat effective in holding a derailed wheel(s) inside the outer rail. They may not have been judged very cost effective since I don't remember seeing much, if any, use elsewhere.
On Monday, June 8, 2015 8:43 AM, "'Bruce F. Smith' smithbf@... [STMFC]" wrote:
No 6’ gauge in 1912, afaik ;)
I think that the center track is demonstrating a style of guard rail. I can’t tell if the guard rails are the inner or outer rails, but there are photos of up to 5 rails on a PRR line at a similar time. One theory is that the extra rails may have provided additional support for blind locomotive drivers on tighter curves, but that theory has the logical problem that the support is only on one side of the rail, yet the track curves in both directions.
Bruce F. Smith
"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."