• Breitspurbahn

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by NJTfan
Does anybody know much, or know where there is extensive information or some renderings of the super-broad gauge railway proposed by Adolf Hitler before the outbreak of war? Not meaning to get the events of World War II involved, but the little backround information I have seen on the project sounds quite interesting. Apparently it was to be 3m wide- that's huge- don't recall the exact measurements off the top of my head, but I'm sure that's in excess of 9ft! I looked around a bit on Google, but the closest thing I found was the cover art for a German book on the subject. I was wondering if anyone know if there was information on it in any English language book, or website, or anything for that matter! Come to think of it, the whole topic of Proposed Railways that never quite made it to reality can be quite an interesting one...I wonder if there's a good book on that topic out there somewhere! It may be unrelated, but for some reason I keep thinking of the Lartigue Monorail system. Why? Who knows, as far as I know it was built.. :P
Last edited by NJTfan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Sir Ray
Absolutely no help to you at all, but the first time I heard about this notion was in the fiction novel 'Fatherland' (following the activities of a German Detective on a secretative case in a post-German Victory 1964). The Detective among his travels comes across a adult murder victim found laying between the tracks in a rail yard - the thing was, he perpendicular to the rails (which made me go 'whoa!') also in the scene is a description of massive 2 story passenger cars (not bilevels as such) filled with Polish and Ukraine immigrants travelling on this broad gauge...

  by NJTfan
They may not have helped in my quest for information, but it was certainly and interesting comment, and I appreciate your response. The whole idea of a gauge that wide seems outlandish to me, but perhaps it could have been quite something. If anyone does have some information to add- I'd like to see what can be contributed. :) As for the book, I find it interesting that the author did enough research to know details like that- projects that would have been completed had the war not begun so early- of if the Germans did win, sometimes books like that don't have such an attention to detail!

  by David Benton
i believe some early english gauges were 7 1//2 foot or so .
  by Sir Ray
Not sure if you also stumbled across these illustrations while searching, but they are interesting non-the-less

Let me start with 3 images of the proposed broad gauge, by Robin Barnes ...

They are from http://www.robinbarnes.net/index.html, but there seemed to be little discussion of how much based on reality his paintings of Breitspurbahn locomotives and rolling stock really are (other paintings of other real-world rolling stock seem correct)

The picture in #3 link above opens his 'galleries' page

From his home page, go to Galleries, and then Railway Art 1 - this give you the same picture as Link 1 above, with the Caption:
The sheer scale of Hitler's 3 metre gauge railway is made apparent by the juxta position of two freight locomotives, the Diagram 90 twin-unit proposal, and the former Prussian G12 (DR 58) on the standard gauge alongside, itself a large locomotive by British standards. The former was 66.2 metres in length, with 12 cylinders and 36 coupled wheels, the latter 18.5 metres, having 3 cylinders and 10 coupled wheels. The respective horsepowers were 26,000 and 1,500.
And finally, the (possibly big) payoff - go to Broad on his galleries - alas, it is selling a book "Broader than Broad", but perhaps this may help your further searching (actually, I wonder if you found a German translation of this English book in your searches)

BTW, the author of 'Fatherland' is Robert Harris (and he earned high praise for his novel, which was eventually produced by HBO as a tele-movie). The two-story passenger cars in the above picture links were what he was describing in regards to the immigrants, but probably a lot less fancy...

  by george matthews
This web site lists all known gauges.

The Great Western, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel used the 7ft gauge, at first from London to Bristol, later extended to Penzance and South Wales, with branches to Birmingham via Oxford.

But Parliament eventually decided that inter-connectibility was more important than the advantages of the Broad gauge and ordered the Great Western to conform.
  by george matthews
NJTfan wrote:the Lartigue Monorail system. Why? Who knows, as far as I know it was built.. :P
It existed from Balybunnion to Listowel in western Ireland.
  by Sir Ray
george matthews wrote:
NJTfan wrote:the Lartigue Monorail system. Why? Who knows, as far as I know it was built.. :P
It existed from Balybunnion to Listowel in western Ireland.
And those wacky County Kerrymen have rebuild (well, build) and restored 1/2 a kilometre, as seen below:


Erin go Braugh! :-D

  by NJTfan
Thanks again, found that information useful, though I do wonder if I will find some more in the future.

Now I have another question. Heaven knows if anyone will be able to answer, so I decided not to bother to create a new thread for it- especially since the topic is similar, in the sense that it's about broad gauge railway lines.

http://parovoz.com/spravka/gauges-e.html This list of Railway/RR Gauges from around the world says that a logging railway in Oregon used 8ft gauge. That's also quite broad, and I was interested, so I had a look on Google- and couldn't find anything. Does anyone happen to have information on it, even if it's just a guess? Or is that just a mistake on the list? I'm particularly curious about the equipment they would have used...Sorry, I may be next to clueless on the subject![/url]

  by Aa3rt
NJTfan-I remember this subject covered in "Trains" in the early 1980's. My guess would be 1981 or 1982, I remember reading this issue while on vacation so it would probably be a summertime issue. I did try the search function at "Trains.com" without much luck. (Their on-line index only goes back to 1997.)

UPDATE 3/21/05 I took a little time at my lunch hour to go back to the "Trains" website-the index goes back further than I stated in my original post-it just took me a little time to remember how to navigate through it.

ANYHOW-the issue of Trains containing the information you are looking for is the August 1984 issue, the article is titled "Hitler's super railway".
Hope this helps.

  by NJTfan
Yes, thank you that definitely does help! It was really something that you managed to find it, too.

Now if only I could find an article about that logging railway in Oregon. If it did exist, surely it might be of interest...
  by Aa3rt
Not to be picayune, but the Great Western Railway of Britian was officially listed at 7' 1/4". Here's a great article from Mike's Railway History Pages. If you'll scroll down toward the bottom you'll find some photos of wide gauge locos and a picture of dual gauge (wide & standard) track:


A couple of wide gauge (7 foot) loggers, courtesy of GearedSteam.com:

http://www.gearedsteam.com/climax/image ... _cn138.jpg

http://www.gearedsteam.com/climax/image ... g_co_3.jpg

Now, from the good news/bad news department: I had heard of an eight foot gauge logging operation in Oregon as well. I knew I'd seen a photo of it in recent months. The good news, I found the photo, the bad news is that it is in "The Climax Locomotive" by Dennis Blake Thompson, Richard Dunn and Steve Hauff. It turns out that the railroad that I found actually ran in Washington State. The locomotive was a class "A" Climax, serial # 391. Three photos of this loco appear on pages 80 & 81 of the previously mentioned book, with the photo on page 80 clearly showing the broad 8 foot gauge. This was a "pole road" using small logs or timber stringers for rails and wheel flanges on both sides of the wheel. There are photos of other wide gauge Climaxes as well.

  by NJTfan
Thanks Again,
Your posts have been of immense help in my search- pretty much everything I've found lately. Perhaps sometime soon I will begin a search for the book on Climax Locomotives you've mentioned, but the information in your post has led me to find a picture of the loco pictured, at least according to the Serial No. you gave, and the rails look rather far apart to me.

I have long known of the Great Western's broad gauge, but the link provided and those photographs of the 7ft gauge loggers elsewhere were fascinating, and I appreciate it all.

For anyone else interested, here's the link to the picture I've found. The thing looks like a monster- and notice the double-flanged wheels mentioned previously.
http://www.climaxlocomotives.com/roster ... hp?P=10280
Last edited by NJTfan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Aa3rt
NJTfan-the link you posted is the photo in "The Climax Locomotive" on page# 80. The locomotive is listed as having gone to Al Avery in Lacey, WA. It was later sold to the Union Lumber Company, also of Lacey, WA and was regauged to standard gauge. The locomotive ultimately went to the Kangley Timber Company of Maple Valley, WA. No disposition of the loco is given.

If you have a copy of "This Was Railroading" by George B. Abdill, there is a photo on page# 181 of the Gualala River Railway in Calfornia, also a logging road that used some very ornate locomotives (three are pictured) utilizing 5' 8 1/2" gauge. The broad gauge is very apparent in the photo.

A couple of other wide guage railroads in the Climax book include a five foot gauge pole road, operated by E. I. Prentice of Derby, Mississippi, the Snowy Creek & Cranesville Tramway Company in Cranesville, WVA and the previously pictured seven foot gauge, operated by C. C. Masten in Svensen, Oregon.

  by MR77100
I'm confused. Is that picture of the Climax the 8-foot gauge logging railroad? I remember reading in the Book of World Records about that 80-foot gauge logging railroad, but it was only listed to exist in 1885.