Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by TDowling
This may be a silly question, but when the MTA/conrail took over the bankrupt railroads, including those west of hudson, did each of them have a different track width? I know the Erie used the widest gauge at 6'. Did the Fed's set a standard or did they just use different equipment to accommodate?
  by DutchRailnut
no all the railroad at that time were standard gauge.
1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
  by Marty Feldner
The Erie converted to standard gauge (4' 8.5") in 1880, so it hasn't been an issue for well over a century.
  by ConstanceR46
All major railroads were standard by 1900. Nothing common carrier freight on either side of the Hudson was wide or narrow.
  by TDowling
OK. Thats what i thought. Historically, does anyone know if the standard gauge width was initiated by the federal govt back then?
  by DutchRailnut
not really, basically got dictated by it already being standard in Europe.
  by ExCon90
Originally the individual railroads made their own choice of gauge, with many adopting the European standard; the Federal Government got into it when Abraham Lincoln ruled that the Overland Route (Union Pacific and Central Pacific) would be standard gauge. (Maury Klein, in his history of the UP.) At that time many railroads in the South still had ~5-foot gauge, but after that the handwriting was on the wall.
  by ebtmikado
Nothing common carrier freight on either side of the Hudson was wide or narrow.
The last Maine two-footer shut down in the 1940s.

  by dieciduej
GirlOnTheTrain wrote:Is that what is now the narrow gauge museum in Portland now? Went there once as a kid.
The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum in Portland is 2 Foot. Over this past summer I visited the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway (WW&F), also a 2 Foot gauge, in Alna, ME.
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  by DutchRailnut
think this tread has proceeded past the derail.