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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.
But then there were the engines acquired by both companies from other railroads, and on infinitem.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.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.On the matter of engines, there was 159 engines built for the CPRR between 1863 and May 1869 and 152 engines built for the UPRR during the same period.(Not sure if the weights of locomotives listed are shipping weight or maximum track loading including water.) If you estimate from the available data that about 21,000 miles of track were put in place during the 1860's in the U. and that the amount of iron used is proportional to the track miles built, then the percent of iron used in building the transcontinental railroad (compared to all U. railroads' iron use during 1860's construction) is about: (1,776/21,000)*100 = 8.5% According to Galloway: "The number of ties varied from 2,260 to 2,640 per mile, depending upon alignment and grade. The total completed length of the sheds and galleries was about thirty-seven miles, the building of which consumed 65,000,000 feet board measure of lumber and 900 tons of bolts, spikes, and other iron." of rail was accounted for, as shown by a letter from Collis P.
Huntington, in New York, dated 1873, to a supplier of rail, The Pennsylvania Iron Co., in Danville, Pennsylvania. Huntington says, in part that he contracted to buy ' ...
If the rail is 56 lb/yard, then the total rail weight is about 175 thousand tons (about a hundred tons of rail per mile).
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.
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.
All rail ordered for the Central Pacific Railroad was by the metric ton, 2240 pounds per ton.