Title: 'Breaks of gauge' in Australian railway history: the significance of standardisation in national infrastructures

Authors: Heejin Lee; Jonathan Liebenau; Vladislav V. Fomin

Addresses: Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea ' Department of Management, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK ' Vilnius University, Kaunas, Muitines 8, Kaunas, Lithuania; Turiba University, Graudu 68, Riga, Latvia

Abstract: Australia's railway suffered from breaks of gauge from the beginning of the systems' development in the 1850s and long after the foundation of the federation in 1901. The failure was caused by economic, social and political factors, and it brought significant consequences for each of those domains. While explaining the causes and impacts of breaks of gauge, we consider economic and technological factors in the development of the railway network. We suggest that economic considerations of Australian territories and the governance structure of the federation were the key factors causing the breaks of gauges. The consequences were significant for economic development and demonstrate the prominence of standardisation in the technological and economic development of national infrastructures. The lessons learned have implications for standardisation in developing national infrastructures.

Keywords: breaks of gauge; Australia; governance; standard gauge; standardisation; railway infrastructure.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSS.2019.104302

International Journal of Services and Standards, 2019 Vol.13 No.1/2, pp.46 - 58

Accepted: 29 Jul 2019
Published online: 02 Jan 2020 *

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