# Cost of 3 foot gauge track

How much would be the material cost of one mile of 3 foot gauge track, rails, ties, and ballast, excluding labor circa 2018? Would ballast be necessary for very light infrequent use?

Original Post

An odd question.

This link gives the individual cost breakdown for components. You'll need 3,249 ties, for instance. which means 6,498 tie plates. And 173 pieces of 30' rail--per side.

Either way, it's going to be A LOT of money. I'm guessing between \$500,000 and \$1M.

Steve

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7.5 inch gauge is about 30 bucks a foot installed. (Live steam) A mile of that would be close to \$160,000. So I agree with the \$500 to a million number.

I'm sure there are cheaper ways of doing it, but even half would still be a big number.

USMC 1966-69

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I was asked to assist in a business plan for a narrow gauge museum. Thanks for the hard engineering data.

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If you can find a coal mine closing, they might have serviceable used rails and switches that could help cut costs. Ties might not be available (unless they have a stock of uninstalled ones) because the wet environment trashes them fast. A lot of mine track is either 36" or 42".

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So using the numbers for the least-expensive components on the link I used, we have this breakdown:

3,249 ties per mile at \$74.25 each = \$241,238.25

Rail costs \$33.15 per linear foot. 5,280 x \$33.15, multiplied by two, is \$350,064.00

At \$10.75 each, you spend \$69,853.50 for two tie plates per rail per mile.

We'll go cheap and only use four spikes per tie (two per rail). At \$1.00 each, that's \$12,996.00

That's \$674,151.75, not counting ballast, fishplates, bolts, and all labor and shipping costs.

Steve

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They are puttin back in a 2 foot line in our 50th state.  Maybe they would have cost per mile figures.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

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Thanx, everyone, for the input.

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Years ago I heard a figure bantied about that it costs an average of a million a mile to restore rail service.   My presumption is that one mile might be \$500k of simple track material and the next mile have \$5m in bridge restoration and grading.

Thus for me the magic number I'd need to just restore the 44 miles of EBT from Mt. Union to Robertsdale would be a nice round \$44 million.

I do believe it's actually around 40 miles not including the old ROW to the Woodvale and Alvan mines,

Now how much of a check the Kovalchicks want for the ROW is another subject for fascinating conjecture.

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

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