This section is from the book "Scientific American Reference Book. A Manual for the Office, Household and Shop", by Albert A. Hopkins, A. Russell Bond. Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
At the close of the fiscal year 1901, there were in service on the United States railroads 39,729 locomotives. Assuming that the average locomotive fills a block 10 feet wide by 15 feet high by 50 feet long. and that all these locomotives could be brought into review at Gizeh and there piled up into one great block, a locomotive that would fill that block would be 510 feet in height and 1,700 feet, or, say, a third of a mile, in length, its smokestack towering 29 feet above the summit of the Pyramid.
There are 35,800 passenger, mail and baggage cars on our railroads, and a typical car representing the space occupied by these would be 500 feet high and 1,950 feet in length, and it would take 3 1-2 great Pyramids to equal it in bulk.
As far as the equipment is concerned it is in the extraordinary number of the freight cars employed that we get the best idea of the great scale upon which our railroads are operated. The total number of cars is 1,409.472. They vary, of course, considerably in size, capacity and type, there being in addition to the familiar box car, the coal cars of various size and type, the freight cars, and a small number of miscellaneous cars for railroad construction and other purposes. A single box car representing the space occupied by all these freight cars would be two-thirds of a mile in length and one-quarter of a mile in height. The Pyramid of Cheops would reach, about to the floor of the car. Were the Eiffel Tower set alongside of it, it would reach only two-thirds of the distance to its roof, while the whole Brooklyn Bridge, with its anchorages, could be placed bodily inside the car, and if the foundations of its piers rested upon the car floor, the summit of its towers would still reach only half way to the roof of the car.
It requires over one million employees for the maintenance and operation of our railroads. Of these nearly one-half are engaged upon the track and roadbed, in proportions made up as follows : There are 33,-817 section foremen, each of whom has a stretch of a few miles of track under his charge, and a gang of from five to eight or ten section men, his duties being those of maintaining the track in proper level and line, seeing that the track bolts are kept tight, the joints in good order, and that the roadbed is properly trimmed, graded and drained. The total number of trackmen employed in the section gangs, as they are called, is 239,166. There are also 47,576 switchmen, flagmen and watchmen, who are engaged in switching work at the yards, in guarding the level crossings, and in patrolling the track. There are also over 7,423 men employed on work trains and other work incidental to track maintenance. In addition to these there are 131,722 laborers engaged in construction and repair and maintenance work of various kinds, making a total engaged on track work and general labor connected therewith of 459,704 men. Carrying out our system of comparison with some standard of bulk, we have chosen the Park Row Building, New York, which has a total height of 390 feet. If this army of trackmen and laborers were combined in one typical giant, he would be some 385 feet in height and of proportionate weight and bulk. The next largest item is the machinists, of which there are 34,698, the carpenters, of which there are 48,-946, and various other shopmen engaged in the repair and general maintenance of the rolling stock to the number of 120,550, making a total number of skilled and unskilled men in the railroad shops of 204,194. The next largest total is that of the station agents, baggage masters, porters, etc., there being 32,294 station agents and 94,847 baggage masters, porters, etc. Then follow the conductors and brakemen, 32,000 of the former and 84,493 of the latter. There are 92,-458 enginemen and firemen, 45,292 of the former and 47,166 of the latter. Employed in the general offices of the various railroad companies, in performing the vast amount of clerical work required, there are 39,701 clerks, while sheltered under the same roof is a body of men upon whom as much as or more than any other in the whole army of railroad employees falls the responsibility of the safety of trains and passengers - the telegraph operators and dispatchers, of whom there are altogether 26,606. The smallest in number, but controlling the whole of this vast organization, are the general officers, presidents, vice-presidents, treasurers, secretaries, etc., of whom there are 4.780.
Copyright, 1902, by Munn & Co.
Enginemen and firemen.
Conductors and brakemen.
Station agents and stationmen.
Machinists and shopmen
Trackmen and laborers.
The Employees And The Money Value Of The United States Railroads.
Perhaps, after all, the most remarkable figures are those which show the total value of the railroad system of the United States, which expressed in figures is 13,308,-029,032 dollars. If this sum were represented in ten-dollar gold pieces, and these pieces were set on edge, side by side, they would reach more than half way from New York to San Francisco, or 1,700 miles. Or, were this coin melted and run into a single casting, it would form a column 15 feet in diameter and 259 feet in height.