Railways are in integral part of our lifestyles. Almost everyone has been on a train to some place.
One of the biggest marvels of industrial revolution Railways are !
Most of the trains that we see run on broad gauge i.e. Width of the track is more than 1 meter.
However, earlier tracks used to be ‘meter gauge’ i.e. Width of the track is 1 meter.
The costs involved in making a meter gauge track is lesser than broad gauge and that is why in the areas where cost of track deployment is high (hills, remote areas), meter gauge was preferred.
A broader gauge provides more stability for faster trains. Earlier the trains were slower and a meter gauge would meet the stability standard. However, with faster trains plying on the tracks, broader gauge has become indispensable.
Here is an image of a meter gauge shot at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, India.
Another example of a train which does not use broad gauge would be Darjeeling Toy Train in West Bengal India.
Due to the scarcity of space available on mountain ranges and inability of trains to take sharp turns this train makes use of an interesting concept of ‘Z’ turn. The train moves along a ‘Z’ shaped track in 3 straight lines. It covers the middle line in reverse so that it can resume it further journey after the turn with engine pulling the carriages.
While in reverse, the engine pushes the carriages and later moves forward normally pulling the carriages.