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can you imagine the labor of weighting 3 million, three hundred fifty five thousand, one hundred an seventy pounds of rail? Strobridge comments: I can't speak to the Union Pacific rail but can add to the information on the Central Pacific's 690 miles of "Iron." Here is some information on the Central Pacific track.The first approximately 112 miles of railvaried in weight from60 to 66 lb pattern, that is 60 to 66 lbsper lineal yard.
To this you would need to add the weight of about 5,500 spikes and 1,408 bolts per mile, 900 tons of iron used in the construction of the Sierra snow sheds, plates, switches and sidings, iron hardware used in constructing wooden trestle bridges, 20-40 ton locomotives, cars, etc.See the discussion of "dollars per mile of track" including the question of exactly where do the Sierra Nevada mountains begin and end. Graves states that the 1887 Pacific RR Commission said the cost of construction from Sacramento City to Promontory, as of July, 1869 was $61,249,916.11; cash or cash equivalent was $32,397,135.58.See comments regarding the role of the government in financing the transcontinental railroad. The bonds were sold at par in New York, then transferred to San Francisco where they were converted to cash/gold.The greatest amount of lumber used for one project was the 37 miles of Snow Sheds, as mentioned above.Some other major uses for lumber: There were many, many wooden trestles, most of them were huge and they required an enormous amount of lumber.Total engine weight would be about 10,000 tons or so.
But then there were the engines acquired by both companies from other railroads, and on infinitem.
1, 1899, and that the complex transaction was completed on February 1, 1909 when the last of the government debt was duly paid.
How much iron and lumber was used in the construction of the transcontinental railroad?
Other sources speak of "fifty-ton locomotives" and "two or three tons of spikes and fish plates" per mile.
For locomotive numbers and weights, also see the multi-page CPRR and UPRR locomotive lists.
I would think that [the above] estimate of approximately 200,000 tons of iron, just for the track, is as close as you will ever get without access to the original records scattered in archives across the country, and then it is doubtful they are even close to being complete.