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The Standardization of Track Gauge on North American Railways, 1830 1890

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  • PUFFERT, DOUGLAS J.
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    Abstract

    Early North American railways chose different track gauges partly on the basis of differing engineering traditions and partly for mutual compatibility. The resulting dynamic process produced nine distinct common-gauge regions by the 1860s. Growing demand for interregional traffic and increasing cooperation among railways yielded incentives to resolve this diversity, and the specific regional pattern of gauges led to selection of 4 8.5 as the continental standard. The case offers support for aspects of differing views on the role of path dependence in determining features of the economy.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

    Volume (Year): 60 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 04 (December)
    Pages: 933-960

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:60:y:2000:i:04:p:933-960_00

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    Cited by:
    1. John A. James & David F. Weiman, 2007. "The Political Economy of the US Monetary Union: The Civil War Era as a Watershed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 271-275, May.

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    1. Historical Economic Geography

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