Russian gauge

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In railway terminology, Russian gauge refers to railway track with a gauge between 1,520 mm and . In a narrow sense as defined by Russian Railways it refers to gauge.Russian Railways, , retrieved 2008-07-20.

The primary installed base of Russian gauge is across the states of the former Soviet Union (CIS states, Baltic states and Georgia), also Mongolia and Finland, representing ca. of track. The Russian gauge is the second most widely used gauge in the world—after (standard gauge). Comparatively short sections of Russian-gauge railways also extend beyond the borders of the former USSR into Poland, eastern Slovakia, and northern Afghanistan.


was approved as the new standard on September 12, 1842.


The selection process for the gauge was undertaken chiefly by Colonel Pavel Petrovich Melnikov (1804–1880). Probably, a combination of the following arguments was used:

  • Easier construction of locomotives
  • Better stability
  • Wide gauge was seen as a new standard that was emerging in the United States
  • Since the gauge was wider than standard road track it was easier to use horse carriages for railroad construction and maintenance.
  • Defensive concerns

In the 19th...
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