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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.
Entire forests were cut back for miles from the line, some taking a hundred years or more to recover.
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 cannot give any estimates on the trestles or the many bridges, some of which wereover a thousandfeet long; and then there was the lining and shoring inside the tunnels.
Both railroads constructed hundreds, if not thousandsof buildings, most of them were huge in size, Depots, Warehouses, buildings for housing employees stationed along the lineand the like.
I can imagine that the Union Pacific's requirement was about the same so — for the total mileage of the transcontinental railroad of 1776 miles required 177,600 tons (metric tons) of rail for the track alone. more that a standard 2000 lb ton andthat if you reported the railtonnageat a 2,000 lb./ton the total rail weight alone would weigh198,912 tons of iron rail. Just remember that in the 1860's that rail was measured by the metric ton but bolts, spikes and rail fastenings were measured by the standard 2,000 lb. Then you would have to add the weight of spikes bolts, rail chairs, fish plates (rail fastenings).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.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 ,249,916.11; cash or cash equivalent was ,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.