Friday, August 03, 2012

Sources for UPRR construction fatalities and wages

Whopper alert: Seriously, one death every 528 feet on average to laborers paid an inflation adjusted $194/hour (tripled to $582/hour)?????

To: "Dave Walsh"

Regarding your article, Wonders of Wyoming by Dave Walsh.
[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Could you please tell us where did the following information about Union Pacific Railroad construction fatalities and wages come from?

" ... It is estimated that 10 lives were lost for every mile of track, due to Indian attacks and the sheer dangers of the work. ... The hearty souls that built the rails would earn a whopping $2.50 an hour, but in certain stretches across the Red Desert and in hostile areas, they could literally triple their wage. ... "



Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Not sure if the UPRR Irish laborers were paid in gold coin like the CPRR Chinese workers were, but adjusting for inflation, $2.50/hour wages in gold coin using today's gold price would be an implausible $194/hour.
$2.50 x 0.9675 x ($1,604.80 / $20) = $2.50 x 77.63 = $194

One UPRR railroad worker dead on average every 528 feet? Reporting of CPRR fatalities seems to be commonly exaggerated.

8/03/2012 12:30 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

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8/03/2012 12:33 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Don Snoddy"

If I've done the math right that would be 10,000 fatalities. Seems a bit high to me. I don't think the Indians killed 10,000 during the whole of the Indian Wars. With fatalities that high Casement would have had much difficulty replacing them. Although at $194 per hour I guess I'd have a go at it.


8/04/2012 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At almost $600/hour, no wonder the U.S. didn't get an income tax until 1913 – all of the senior partner tax lawyers must have been too busy hand building the railroads ;-)

8/04/2012 11:59 AM  

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