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Business Secrets of the U.S. Railroads

By March 26, 2016 General Marketing

The United States standard gauge for railroads is 4 feet, 8 and 1/2 inches. That’s the distance between the two rails…


It is such an odd dimension and an odd number…

Well, because that’s how the English build their railroads, and the English expatriates are the ones who built the railroads in the US.

But why did the English build their railroads that way?

Well, the old tramways (which re-used the same exact jig/tools as the old wagons), were also 4 feet, 8 and 1/2 inches apart.

So the distance between the old English wheels in the old English wagons, was always the same.

4 feet. 8 and 1/2 inches.

But why?

Well… Because, all of the old roads in England had ruts in them… exactly 4 feet, 8 and 1/2 inches apart.

If the wagon wheels were any shorter or further apart, the wheels would break…

So where’d the ruts in the old English roads come from?

The Imperial Roman Empire…

When they built the roads thousands of years ago, they had the same ruts spaced the same distance. 4 feet, 8 and 1/2 inches.


Because of the old Roman war chariots – which made the initial runs and created the initial ruts in the roads – and their wheels were spaced exactly 4 feet, 8 and 1/2 inches apart.

All of them had to match, throughout the entire Roman empire (which included most of the known world at the time), or some wagons would work and others would break…

That’s why the US standard railroad gauges are exactly 4 feet, 8 and 1/2 inches apart.

Here’s the point…

When most people, our clients included, are asked Why they are doing something or doing something a particular way…

…The answer is simple:

“I dunno… That’s the way I’ve seen it done… it’s just what we’ve always done.”

A new market is growing up right now in which things will have to be done differently.

There are better methods… better processes… and better reasons for doing things.

And if you don’t adapt, you’re dead.

It’s why we are constantly testing new methods and processes – and people copy us all the time…

To lead, you must innovate, and you must be different.

For help with that, go here…

Taylor & Chris