Saturday, April 07, 2007

Iron Costs, 1871-1874

From: Larry Mullaly

I have been working on construction costs for the SP during the period 1871-1874. Would anyone know what 56 or 60 pound iron rail was selling for during this period? I have a reference from Strobridge that the cost of rail for the CP was as high as $130 a ton during the building of the transcontinental road, but that this was much higher than it cost at later time.

I guess, while I am at it, I should also request figures on spikes and fishplates.

Any help would be appreciated.



Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Chris Graves"

You are correct in the $130 figure. In the U.S. Government Commission hearing, on page 3109, Strobridge says that "As I recollect it, we paid as high as $130 a ton for iron ... in 1866 and 1867." Additonally, E.H. Miller testifies on pages 3558 and 3558 that steel rails in California are $45-46 a ton, plus shipping, in the East they are $35 to 36 a ton. Spikes at that time are 2 1/10 cent per pound, bolts are 2 1/2 cents a pound, bar iron at $40 to $45 a ton, car castings 2 1/2 cents, car wheels are $8.25 each, locomotives are between $7,000 and $7,500. He further says that he paid $115 per ton for rail made in Boston for 5,000 tons of rail (That rail, made in 1863 by the Bay State Iron Co. was 60 pound rail, laid between Sacto City and Colfax.) He goes on to say that he paid between $74 and $87.50 per ton for iron from New York (This iron was 56 lb iron, from the Rensellaer Iron Company, of Troy, NY)

Freight from New York averaged $17.50 ton, plus insurance that ranged from 5 1/2 to 17%.

—G J Chris Graves, NewCastle

4/07/2007 10:55 AM  

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