Sunday, September 14, 2008



What was the gauge of the rail used on the transcontinental railroad? What was the typical length of a straight rail? How did this rail compare to the rail used in the east?

—Dan Hally


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The first iron rails from Bay State in New England were 24 feet mostly with a percentage of shorter rails. These rails had to fit in the hold(s) of the clipper ship Herald of the Morning. These rails were used from Sacramento to Colfax. Then rails arrived from several rolling mills to San Francisco on board quite a few sailing vessels and ultimately as the track neared Utah and Promontory the rails increased in lengths up to 30 feet with the percentage of shorter rails. The entire rails used by the CP can be found in 4 volumes of copies of records sent by CP Huntington to Sacramento. If my memory is correct ... I gave those four volumes to the California State Railroad Museum. Contact Kyle Wyatt for confirmation. As to where the rails were laid in track see an appendix in the 1887 report of the Pacific Railway Commission showing the locations by brand and date.

—Lynn Farrar

9/25/2008 6:58 PM  

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