Railway Gauge – || Definition || Types || Factor Affecting || Advantages of Uniform Gauge ||

What is Railway Gauge?

The clear horizontal distance between the inner faces of the two rails forming a track is known as a Railway Gauge. The distance between the inner faces of a pair of wheels is called the wheel gauge.

Railway Gauge

Types of Gauges in India

In India the following gauges are used:

  • a) Standard Gauge or Broad Gauge – Gauge width 1.676 m.
  • b) Metre/Meter Gauge (M.G) – Gauge width 1.000 m.
  • c) Narrow Gauge (N.G) – Gauge width 0.672 m.
  • d) Feeder Track Gauge or Light Gauge – Gauge width 0.610 m.

What is Broad Gauge?

When the clear distance between the inner faces of the two rails is 1.676m, then the gauge is called Broad Gauge. This is also known as Standard Gauge.   

Broad Gauge

What is Metre Gauge?

If the horizontal distance between the inner faces of two rails is 1.0 m, the gauge is called Meter Gauge.  

Metre Gauge

What is the Narrow Gauge?

When the clear distance between the inner faces of the two rails is 0.762m, the gauge is called Narrow Gauge. These gauges are mainly used for the hilly area and the place where traffic volume is low.  

Narrow Gauge

Gauges in Different Country

The railway gauges that are used in different countries are presented below:

S. NOTypes of GaugeWidth of Gauge(m)Countries
1.Broad Gauge1.435     1.451Canada, U.K, U.S.A., etc.   Entire Europe except Spain, Portugal and Russia.
2.Metre Gauge1.0     1.069Argentina, France, Switzerland, etc.   Australia, Japan, South Africa, etc.
3.Narrow Gauge0.762   0.610India and U.K   South Africa and India

Factors Affecting Adopting of a Particular Gauge

The following factors govern the choice of different gauges:

1. Cost of construction and funds available for the railway project.

2. Volume and nature of traffic. 

3. The intensity of the population.

4. Industrial and commercial development of the locality.

5. Prospects of future development of the area.

6. Topographical and geological features of the country.

7. Speed of movement required.

Advantages of Uniform Gauge

The use of a uniform gauge has the following advantages:

1. The delay cost and hardship in shifting passengers and goods from the vehicle of one gauge to the other are avoided.  

2. Labour expenses of shifting are saved.  

3. Breakage of goods due to shifting is avoided.  

4. Possibility of thefts and misplacement during the shifting operation is eliminated.  

5. Large sheds to store goods are not required.  

6. Labour strikes etc. do not affect the service and operation of trains.   

7. Wagons can be efficiently used on all the tracks if the gauge is uniform.  

8. Locomotives can be effectively used on all the tracks if a uniform gauge is adopted.  

9. During military movement, no time is wasted in shifting of personnel and equipment’s if the gauge is uniform.  

10. Duplication of equipment such as platforms, sanitary arrangements, etc is avoided.  

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Permanent way

Factor Affecting Adoption of a Particular Gauge 



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