The yearly supply of crossties for our railroads constitutes a heavy demand upon the forest resources of the country. There is a total mileage of steam and electric railways in the United States of approximately 450,000. Over a considerable period of years the annual replacement of ties on both steam and electric lines has been in the neighborhood of 300 ties per mile. On this basis the normal average consumption of crossties would amount to about 135,000,000. In 1920, the Forest Service estimated the normal annual consumption of ties at between 100 million and 125 million, but this estimate apparently did not include the electric railways. Taking a conservative figure of 120,000,000 ties and 36 board feet as the average contents per tie, it is found that the drain upon our forests amounts to approximately 4¼ billion board feet yearly. In terms of cubic feet of standing timber required yearly crossties stand next after fuel, lumber, and posts.
Truax, T. R.
"The Tie Problem and a National Forestry Program,"
Ames Forester: Vol. 10
, Article 3.
Available at: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/amesforester/vol10/iss1/3