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Irish Gauge

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Title: Irish Gauge  
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Subject: Rail transport in Ireland, EMD SD40-2, Glossary of Australian railway terms
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Irish Gauge

Track gauges
General concepts
Track gauge · Break-of-gauge ·

Dual gauge · Conversion (list·
Bogie exchange · Variable gauge

By transport mode
Tram · Rapid transit · High-speed rail
Miniature · Scale model
By size (list)

  Breitspurbahn 3,000 mm (9 ft 10 18 in)
  Brunel 2,140 mm (7 ft 14 in)
  Indian 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
  Iberian 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 2132 in)
  Irish 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
  Pennsylvania 1,588 mm
1,581 mm
(5 ft 2 12 in)
(5 ft 2 14 in)
  Russian 1,524 mm
1,520 mm
(5 ft)
(4 ft 11 2732)

  Standard 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

  Scotch 1,372 mm (4 ft 6 in)
  Cape 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
  Metre 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
  Three foot 914 mm (3 ft)
  Imperial and Bosnian 762 mm
760 mm
750 mm
(2 ft 6 in)
(2 ft 5 1516 in)
(2 ft 5 12 in)
  2 ft and 600mm 610 mm
600 mm
597 mm
(2 ft)
(1 ft 11 58 in)
(1 ft 11 12 in)

  Fifteen-inch 381 mm (15 in)
By location
North America · South America · Europe

Irish gauge (also known as Victorian broad gauge) railways use a track gauge of . It is used in



600 BCE
The Diolkos (Δίολκος) across the Isthmus of Corinth in Greece – a grooved paved trackway – was constructed with an average gauge of 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in).[3]
The Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway was constructed to 1600 mm gauge.
The Board of Trade of the United Kingdom recommended the use of in Ireland, after investigating a dispute caused by diverse gauges in Ireland.
An Act of Parliament, the Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act 1846, made this gauge mandatory on the island of Ireland.[4]
The Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway was converted to standard gauge.
First narrow gauge ( in Ireland)
December 5 - The Downpatrick & Ardglass Railway began public operation, the first Irish gauge heritage railway in Ireland.[5]
The 125 km (77.7 mi) long Oaklands railway line, which runs into New South Wales from Victoria, was converted to standard gauge. The project was relatively easy because the line has wooden sleepers.
200 km (124.3 mi) of the Albury-Wodonga railway line, Victoria was converted to standard gauge, meaning a double track standard gauge line was created between Seymour and Albury.


Country/region Notes
Australia States of South Australia, Victoria (Victorian broad gauge), New South Wales (a few lines built by, and connected to, the Victorian rail system) and Tasmania, Australia (one line, Deloraine to Launceston, opened in 1871, partly converted to dual gauge, and then converted to in 1888).
Brazil Lines connecting the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais; E.F.Carajás in Pará and Maranhão states, and Ferronorte in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states. Used in older Metro systems.[6]
Germany Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway 1840 - 1855[7]
Switzerland Swiss Northern Railway until 1854, converted standard gauge.
Ireland Irish broad gauge
New Zealand Canterbury Provincial Railways
(1863- ; All routes gauge converted to by 1876)
United Kingdom Northern Ireland Railways - entire network

Similar gauges

The Pennsylvania trolley gauges ( and ) are similar. There is also , see track gauge in Ireland.


One of the supposed advantages of the broader Irish Gauge, compared to standard gauge, is that the greater space between the wheels allows for bigger cylinders. In practice, Ireland does not have any heavily-loaded or steeply-graded lines that would require especially powerful locomotives. The most powerful steam locomotives on systems of this gauge were:

By comparison a non-articulated standard gauge locomotive in the same country was:

See also


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