Railway Gauge in Russia

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
User avatar
Clodius
Member
Posts: 11
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 17:08

Post by Clodius » 09 May 2002 15:40

In Sept-Oct 1941 the Germans narrowed the railway in Estonia to German standards within 3 weeks by using technology as described above. There was about 900 kilometers railroads in Estonia on that time.

Homer martin
Member
Posts: 262
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 12:08
Location: USA

Hi Matt

Post by Homer martin » 09 May 2002 15:52

Hi Matt,
Glad to see we have another railroad man here to post:) I have worked in three areas of the railroad.
I don't known for sure, but i don't think they used welded rail lenghts in WWII. So you talking about jointed rail put one on another about 2-3 deep a car at 33 1/3 feet lengths. Most pictures i have seen from Russia show that jointed rail was in use. Also most railroads there even to this day use jointed rail. (off topic a little here: I love the train trip I took from Moscow to Yoshkar Ola).
Loading and unloading weilded rail, one of my favorate jobs, if you are picking up rail and not going to use the line again you use a sled under the rail to rip up the track at 1/4 mile lengths and cut the rail at that point. Then you cut a hole in the rail to tie a chain to the two rails and then pull the rail to a point in the track your going to load it and repeat the hole job over until you have enough rail to load a rail train. Loading rail on a rail train is like this if your using rippped up rail:
1st you have a bruro crane to put one end on the train thought a rail threader then back down the track with the crane.
2nd the back the train up on the track to load the rail.
3rd repeat until the train is loaded

Unloading a rail train the fast way:
1st you tie a chain to the track and rail your unloading
2nd you move the train farward until the rail is unloaded

That is only if you can use the track your unloading on.

If the rail falls on it side as you unload or moving down the track it takes only two men to right it, one with a come along and a lining bar.

If you can't use the track your unload on because of wider gauge then you have to pull the rail off which takes longer time and the use of a bull dozer or something like it to unload the rail.


During WWII most cars were 40' to 50' and all yards and siding where engineered to take that length of a car. (off topic; Our yard here was built in the 40's engineered to take 50' cars in the 80's when they started to run the 70' A frames and chip hoppers railroads started to have problems with derailments in the turn outs in the switching yards and until they came back and layed newer switches with 90lb rail and made the trunout a little longer) I don't think moving the outer rail into smaller gauge running the same 40-50' cars would have this problem. The biggest problem would be the second gang coming to work on the switches, if you used a panel switch to but this in place you would have to make sure it was the same size rail or have reducing bars of the right size. Also you would have to have some from of power machine ie crane; track hole to place or a lot of manpower to man handel it into place. If on the other hand you use the same switches it saves on man power, all you have to do is relay the switch and line it up to the other track your tieing into.

/HGM

Marion L. Anderson
Member
Posts: 17
Joined: 09 May 2002 22:07
Location: Bellflower. Ca U.S.A.

Russian track width

Post by Marion L. Anderson » 20 May 2002 00:28

One thing you all forget to mention or I missed is the track width of railroads in the U.S.A. is 60 inches , 5 feet or exactly the same as Russia at 1524mm. Therefore no problem with American locomotives or boxcars. It maybe the reason that the U.S.A. had a small problem with their steam locomotives maybe they were all being shipped to Russia I don't know. Also a lot of the locomotive manufactureres were building tanks. At this time General Motors was building a lot of diesel engines at LaGrange Illinois and had been for about eight years. :D M.L. Anderson
WW-II NAVY

Darrin
Member
Posts: 831
Joined: 17 Apr 2002 10:44
Location: Canada

Re: Russian track width

Post by Darrin » 20 May 2002 09:37

Marion L. Anderson wrote:One thing you all forget to mention or I missed is the track width of railroads in the U.S.A. is 60 inches , 5 feet or exactly the same as Russia at 1524mm. Therefore no problem with American locomotives or boxcars. It maybe the reason that the U.S.A. had a small problem with their steam locomotives maybe they were all being shipped to Russia I don't know. Also a lot of the locomotive manufactureres were building tanks. At this time General Motors was building a lot of diesel engines at LaGrange Illinois and had been for about eight years. :D M.L. Anderson


That is interesting I didn't know that at all. I wonder what width engines they brought to France in 1944? The allies were supposed to bring at least 500 engines during normandy. Did britian use the normal european gauge?

Thanks

User avatar
Matt Gibbs
Member
Posts: 2978
Joined: 23 Mar 2002 00:46
Location: United Kingdom

STANDARD Gauge

Post by Matt Gibbs » 20 May 2002 10:49

Darrin;
Britain DEVELOPED the standard gauge and it was other european countries who hired british engineers or visited british railway companies who took the gauge with them as a practical one to make travel and interchange of wagons easier. Try reading this link for a bit of info

http://turksib.com/gauges/standard.html

or a search online which might give you more answers.

Nice to hear about the comments on track relaying logistics. We also use a lot of jointed track over here and of course the rail panels are made to the standard rail length, usuallu 60 foot lengths, wagons built for this purpose were made a standard length of something like 63 feet long. These wagons can carry 6 panels each and a train length is usually 10-12 wagons of these.
Regards
Matt G

Marion L. Anderson
Member
Posts: 17
Joined: 09 May 2002 22:07
Location: Bellflower. Ca U.S.A.

General Motors Electo Motive division

Post by Marion L. Anderson » 20 May 2002 16:54

http://www.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm ... gmemd.com/
This is something about GM EMD history. M.L. Anderson
WW-II NAVY

User avatar
Qvist
Member
Posts: 7836
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 16:59
Location: Europe

Post by Qvist » 21 May 2002 08:30

According to the Reichsbahn official in charge when later interviewed by the Americans, the problem wasn't so much the changing of the gauge, which was accomplished in a simple way - pull up the spike, move the rail, respike it. The main problem was that Soviet locomotives were bigger than their Western counterparts and could carry more water, coal etc. This meant that they required fewer service stops. Apparently, the Germans had to build, on average, one full service station with water-towers, sidlings etc between every two Soviet ones in existence, for which no preparations existed.

cheers

User avatar
Matt Gibbs
Member
Posts: 2978
Joined: 23 Mar 2002 00:46
Location: United Kingdom

Locomotive design

Post by Matt Gibbs » 21 May 2002 09:58

The Kriegslok type 52 produced as a standard locomotive type for the Reichsbahn was adapted for the military advances due to the problems with water capacity and distance etc. It wa the principle variation of the Type 52 known as the Class 52KON. Henschel were designers of this type due to their previous experience with condensing locomotives. They produced a small number of condensers for the USSR as 0-10-0's witha condensing tender. Adoption of the condensing principles meant the engine could run 1,000lm [625miles] between re-waterings. As the exhaust steam was led back to the tender a fan was added to the smokebox to provide the draft in the blast pipe. The fan was driven by a turbine which was itself driven by a portion of the exhausted steam from the main cylinders. The tenders were a very special designa dn took a lot of extra man hours to produce.
The tenders had 3 large exhaust turbine driven fans of 88in. diameter running at up to 1000 rpm to pull cooling air through the elements on each side of the tender. The shutters could be adjusted to provide the correct air flow and even be closed fully in the severe winter weather.
The critical nature of the railway operations in the East is evinced by the advance planning that went into this design. 240 of these locomotives and tenders were ordered and 167 completed. Another 10 were actually completed after the war and taken into the DB post war stock!
All the condensing locomotives from 52.1850 to 52.2016 in 1943-44 were made by Henschel. The cost of a condensing loco and tender was DM 240,000 which compared to DM 145,000 for a standard version. A large proportion of the cost was in the special tender as a normal one cost 4 times less than the DM 88,000 for the condensing 4 axle tender. A large 5 axle version was also manufactured at a cost of DM 96,000. The 52KON locos were so long, with the tender wheelbase of 23.185m that they could not be turned on the large 23m turntables at the principal depots and needed to be turned on a triangle. Indeed, the 5 axle tender fouled the standard loading guage in germany in some places and had route restrictions. Because it contained expensive equiptment they were not permitted to be run 'tender first'. Maximum speed was 50km/h - 31mph.
Collaberation of manufacturers was needed to produce all the loco tender turbines. INdeed, Escher Wyss of Switzerland were contracted to produce the 240 sets of turbines and fans. To speed up production of these the subcontracted to Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon!
During the retreats of the Germans from the USSR partisans and troops/planes of the russian forces destroyed a lot of the watering facilities and thus the 52KON became even more vital as they could run longer distances. They ran a lot of the ambulance trains into Germany and munitions traffic. Through trains of up to 2400km [1500 miles] were known to be run with only 2 water stops!
Hope this is of interest to the logistics enthusiasts and train fans!
Regards
Matt G

User avatar
Kim
Financial supporter
Posts: 1851
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 23:22
Location: Minnesota, U.S.A.

Post by Kim » 21 May 2002 17:11

Thanks for the interesting information,all of you. Sometimes I think the importance of the train is sometimes overwhelmed by the more "glamorous" hardware like aircraft,tanks,ships,etc. Coincidentally,last night I came upon a few photos of an armored train stopped on a bridge over a small creek somewhere in Russia. The crew was operating a 6 man see-saw type pump with a hose leading up into the tender. I don't know how many liters per hour they could pump,but I imagine they were there for quite some time. Regards,and let's "highball" Kim

mastertb14
New member
Posts: 1
Joined: 23 Jan 2019 23:42
Location: Apex

Re: Railway Gauge in Russia

Post by mastertb14 » 10 Jan 2021 17:36

Did the Russians reverse the railway gauge back from German as they advanced through former occupied territories?

Return to “Economy”