The US Standard Railroad Gauge (distance Between The Rails) Is 4 Feet, 8.

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The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4
feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were
built by English expatriates. Why did the English people build them like
that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built
the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did "they"
use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same
jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel
spacing. Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried
to use any other spacing the wagons would break on the old long distance
roads, because that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts. So who built these
old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by
Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used
ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match
for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots.
Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in
the matter of wheel spacing. Thus, we have the answer to the original
questions. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches
derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war
chariot. Specs and Bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are
handed a specification and wonder what horse's behind came up with it, you
may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be
just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two warhorses.