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One hundred tons per mile included the main line and all the side track, incidental uses and waste.

Using that method of measurement the Central Pacific railroads 690 miles of track would have been approximately 69,000 (metric tons 2240#) tons of rail.

The ties varied in size, some as long as 10 feet and some as large as 8"x10" in size, depending if the track was being laid in the mountains or the deserts, on heavy or gentle grades, on curves or tangents (straight track). At one time the Central Pacific had as many as 25 Saw Mills in Truckee just milling lumber for the railroad which required as many as 40 trains to supply the front withties and timber– and they just managed to keep up with the track laying forces.

How much iron and lumber was used in the construction of the transcontinental railroad?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.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.

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