View Full Version : History Lesson......

05-20-2009, 11:57 AM

Rail road tracks.. This is fascinating.

Be sure to read the final paragraph; your understanding of it will depend on the earlier part of the content.

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=2 0English expatriates built the US railroads.

Why did the English 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 use d for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Romebuilt the first long distance roads in Europe (andEngland ) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.. Bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification/ procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with it?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough=2 0to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horse's asses.) Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRB's. The SRB's are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah . The eng ineers who designed the SRB's would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRB's had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRB's had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything... and
CURRENT Horses Asses are controlling everything else.

05-23-2009, 06:33 AM
Hey Manny,
that's really good :) where do you find this stuff, anyway?

05-23-2009, 09:37 AM
Hey Manny,
that's really good :) where do you find this stuff, anyway?

One of my friends emailed to me .......glad you guys enjoyed it...

05-23-2009, 12:40 PM
I love it, but it doesn't surprise me a bit......

05-26-2009, 12:47 PM
I love it too.
Have you heard this one?
During the Israeli 6-day war, it was necessary to move tanks and APCs from one end of the country to the other at speed. It was decided that the fastest way to do it was by rail. However, when the trains tried to get through the countryside it was discovered that since the time the lines had been laid, houses, shops, and factories had been built so close to them that the overhanging tanks could not get past.

It transpired that no rules on how close to the track you could build, had ever been decided.

It then became necessary for a bureaucrat from Haifa to drive along a head of the train and buy the buildings for cash; the tanks would then just blow them out of the way.
They obviously did arrive at the frontlines with enough ammo left, as history proves. Maybe all the target practice on the way paid off? It certainly added some extra expense to war!
Nowadays there are strict rules as to how close you can build to the tracks.
off course with all the latest conflicts involving aircraft as first (and usually last strikes!) I can't see them having to put tanks on trains again.