chapter  9
2 Pages

Rail interface

Dimensional standards for railways have progressively converged in Europe, since the days of ‘the battle of the gauges’. However, the standardisation of the wheel gauge has not been matched by the loading gauge, and mainland Europe has built coaches and particularly freight vehicles to larger crosssections. The advent of the Channel Tunnel in 1994 has highlighted the two principal standards for all-purpose stock, while at the same time setting new and quite different standards for dedicated railway stock. The tunnel has been designed to accommodate 800-metre-long trains of 5.6-metre-high wagons, but the conventional coaches in these trains are nevertheless built to the British standard so as to fit under British, and therefore all, bridge structures.