In the field of the Railroad, the broad way is characterized by a spacing of the rails higher than that of the normal Voie (either 1435 mm).
OriginIt is in Great Britain that the broad way was born, on the initiative of Brunel which conceived in 1838 the Great Western Railway (GWR) with a way of 2140 mm (either 7 feet 0 ¼ inch), spacing which remained in service until in 1892.
Thereafter, a decision of the Parliament imposed the generalization of the standard spacing for reasons of compatibility, this concept having preceded that of profitability. The lines with broad way were gradually converted with the double spacing or the standard spacing between 1864 and 1892.
The broad way in the worldMany countries have networks with broad way:
the Russia and the States resulting from the ex- the USSR use a spacing of 1520 mm (which was at the origin of 5 feet, that is to say 1524 mm).
the continuous Finland to employ the spacing of 1524 mm (5 feet) which it inherited old the Russian Empire (the two standards are sufficiently close to allow the interworking of the trains between Finland and Russia).
the States Baltes received European Union financings in order to convert their networks with the standard spacing of UIC.
With Toronto (Canada), the network of subway and tram including all taxes uses a single spacing of 1495 mm (4 feet 10 7/8 inches). This particular spacing was conceived in the beginning to allow the circulation of horse-drawn vehicles standard spacing whose wheels were registered inside the rails and that of trams rolling on the top of the rails.
Whereas Russia chose the broad way to make much more difficult one invasion of the country by the railway ways, the majority of the systems with broad way not-standard took the way of interworking between railway networks.
In the case of the GWR, the spacing of 2140 mm were supposed to make it possible to produce more an high speed, but the problems of design of the engines in the first years (what made them lose many of their theoretical advantages), and technological advances fast way suspension allowed in one or two decades to approach same speeds with the standard spacing
With the spacings of 5 feet 3 inches (1600 mm) and 5 feet 6 inches (1676 mm), the additional width made it possible to install larger interior cylinders and thus a higher power, but this profit had become possible with the standard spacing thanks to external cylinders and a stronger steam pressure. In the case of Bart, the broad way would have been selected for a better wind resistance of relatively light vehicles.
The problem of the ruptures of spacing
With the junction of network of different spacings, as with the Franco-Spanish Border or the border sino-Russian, the traditional solution was always the Transbordement of the travellers and the goods between Véhicule S adapted to each network. The disadvantages are multiple: waste of time and of comfort, costs additional, risks of damage for the goods… Many technical solutions were imagined to solve this problem. Among those which were applied, it there a:
- use of vehicles (Wagon S or passenger cars) with Essieu X or interchangeable Bogie S, which require the stopping of the trains on special building sites and the change of Locomotive;
- use of vehicles equipped with axles with variable spacing, which are designed to allow the releasing of the wheels, their transverse displacement and they reblocage without stop, the train ravelling at fallback speed on a portion of way especially equipped. The Spanish company Talgo was a precursor in this field.
In certain particular cases, another solution consists in resorting to a way with double spacing, comprising according to the case three or four files of rails, either in a permanent way (for example in the stations interfaces between two different networks with spacing), or temporarily when a change of spacing was programmed.
Certain applications of railways require spacings even broader, in particular:
the Telescope S;
- the displacement of rocket S on the launching pads;
- the launching of boats in the shipyards.
These applications use sometimes a double track with the usual spacing of the country to ensure the necessary stability and the burden-sharing of important masses.
- Spacing Ohio - 4 feet 10 inches, used in the State of the Ohio (the United States);
- Provincial Spacing - 5 feet 6 inches, used in the Ontario (Canada) to prevent a possible invasion by forces coming from the United States.
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