Break of gauge

With railways, a break of gauge occurs where a line of one gauge meets a line of a different gauge: a different track gauge. Trains and rolling stock cannot run through without some form of conversion between gauges, freight and passengers must otherwise be transshipped. A break of gauge adds delays and inconvenience. Narrow-gauge railways have smaller loading gauges and sharper curves, which tend to reduce initial capital costs; these railways were economically marginal lines through hilly and mountainous terrain, where it would not have been economic to build a full-size railway. Many of these rail lines were operated independently of connecting lines, as competing companies built and operated them, thus the cost of transfer between different gauges was irrelevant. Only the building of union stations or the nationalization of railroads changed this. Invading armies may be hampered. Spain deliberately maintained a wider gauge than France for this reason; this did not change until the beginning of the high-speed, standard-gauge AVE in 1992.

The rest of the network continues to run on wide gauge. If the railways have different loading gauges, the break of track gauge might help prevent the larger wagons straying onto lines with smaller tunnels. If the larger and smaller gauges use different couplers or brakes, the break of gauge tends to keep the different couplers separate. For passenger trains the inconvenience is less at major stations where many passengers change trains or end their journeys anyway. Therefore, some passenger-only railways have been built with gauges not otherwise used in the country concerned. For example, the high-speed railways in Japan and Spain use 1,435 mm while their respective mainline railroad systems use 1,067 mm and 1,668 mm. For night trains, which are common in countries such as Russia, the requirement to change trains is more inconvenient. In this case the bogies are replaced if it takes much more time than having passengers change trains. If local government has influence over the construction of railways, some may see it as desirable for trains to stop in rather than pass through their town.

For instance, prior to the US Civil War, many cities in the South had a break of gauge or two separate stations at different ends of town, necessitating a change of trains or time-consuming transshipment, which nonetheless brought commerce and profit to the towns. Not until the Civil War did state and Confederate authorities notice the military and economic problems this brought, only the post-bellum Union government was able to solve those problems, by converting all lines to standard gauge. Transshipping freight from cars of one gauge to cars of another is labour- and time-intensive, increases the risk of damage to goods. If the capacity of the freight cars on both systems does not match, additional inefficiencies can arise. If the frequency is low, a train might need to wait a long time for its counterpart to arrive before transshipping; this might be avoided by storing the goods, but, costly and inconvenient. Technical solutions to avoid transshipping include variable gauge axles, replacing the bogies of cars, using transporter cars that can carry a car of a different gauge.

The Spanish manufacturers Talgo and CAF have developed dual-gauge axles which permit through running between broad-gauge and standard-gauge lines. In Japan the Gauge Change Train, built on Talgo patents, runs on both standard and narrow 1,067 mm gauge. Breaks-of-gauge might be avoided by installing dual-gauge track, either permanently or as part of a project to replace one gauge with another. At most breaks-of-gauge passengers have to change trains, but there are a few trains that run through, for example, the Talgo, trains from Russia to China or Russia to Europe, although on the latter two the passengers have to leave the train for some time whilst the accommodation work is done. Railroads with unusual gauges or loading gauges have problems procuring trains, may be forced to choose between an oligopoly or a monopoly supplier that caters to their specific needs; this may be deliberate on the part of suppliers: some streetcar lines were built to unique specifications to ensure buyer lock-in.

However, in modern times rail gauge itself is not the most important factor, but rather other aspects like the electrification system or the loading gauge. Trains crossing the Channel Tunnel, for instance, had to be custom made before High Speed 1 was built, despite both Britain and France having standard gauge, because the British loading gauge is narrower and the legacy lines in the south of Britain were electrified through third rail rather than overhead wiring. Where trains encounter a different gauge, such as at the Spanish–French border or the Russian–Chinese one, the traditional solution has been transloading, that is, the transfer of passengers and freight to cars on the other system; when transloading from one gauge to another the quantities of rolling stock are unbalanced between the two systems, leading to more idle rolling stock on one system than the other. This is far from optimal, some other schemes have been devised. Various solutions other than transloading were conceived in the early era of railways in Britain, but they were not implemented dur

Debbie Spillane

Deborah Elizabeth Spillane is an Australian sports journalist and commentator. Spillane was born in Sydney, was educated at Bethlehem College and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney. In 1984, she joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a sports commentator and reporter, was the first full-time female broadcaster hired by ABC Sport. In the same year was sent as a reporter to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, two years to the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, she was a sideline reporter for ABC's rugby league coverage, was the first woman to commentate cricket on ABC Radio. From 1990 to 1995, Spillane co-hosted the drive time program Hard Coffee with Ian Rogerson for Triple J. Around the same time, she was a regular panelist on Andrew Denton's Live and Sweaty program from 1991 to 1994. In 1995, Spillane left the ABC and became the media manager of the Bulldogs national rugby league team, she continued in several sports/media-related endeavours including as media manager of the West Sydney Razorbacks basketball team.

In 2002, she returned to the ABC as part of the broadcasting team for ABC NewsRadio, in 2012 became the host of ABC Radio's Grandstand program. She was awarded 2017 Australian Sports Commission Media Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2007, Allen & Unwin published Spillane's autobiography, titled Where Do You Think You're Goin', Lady?: Adventures of a Sports-mad Redhead


Rasti is a construction toy made from plastic—similar to Lego and Mis Ladrillos—that was produced by the Knittax company in Argentina during the 1960s and 1970s. In 2007, manufacturing began again; the construction method allows a person to join pieces by using medium pressure, locking the blocks together with semi-rigid plastic pins which, unlike other brands, avoids the friction and wear between the pins and the internal surfaces of the blocks. This system avoids the fragility and instability in the models, giving a solidity unequaled by any other construction toy or block system. Rasti bricks produced in Argentina were made with quality in mind—the shafts were made in chromed steel with plastic points for joining the special holes in the wheels, they were so popular that the word "Rasti" became used as a synonym for durability and stability. It is still used as a generic noun to describe objects that can be assembled or disassembled in pieces saying: "it was broken like a Rasti" or "you can build it like a Rasti".

Having obtained a considerable popularity in the toy market in Argentina, the "Rasti" was exported to countries such as Canada and Germany until its production moved to Brazil where its license was granted to the company Hering, remained in production for several years. The brand "Rasti" comes from the German word "rasten" which means "to affirm, to establish giving solidity and firmness", the concept that governs the plastic blocks that are embedded to form various structures. In Europe, with new colors but with the same basic pieces, the Rasti still continued selling after the new millennium. Between the more popular sets sold in the Rasti decades, there are the Minibox 600, the Multibox 800, the technical kits 501 and 502, the three variants of Rasti Mobil, the Motobox 45 and its more complete version the Motobox 90, the larger set, "Starbox 1000". Rasti in Argentina Rasti official page República Rasti Rasti Club Argentina