Concrete vs Wood Ties

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Re: concrete vs. Wood Ties

Postby sd80mac » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:30 am

pennsy wrote:They are also evaluating Composite Plastic ties. Anyone have any information on that ?

Conrail had 10 plastic ties, which came from recycle, in 10 different locations (not sure if it was a bunch of ties in 10 different location or one tie for each location). They laid them just right before NS and CSX fought over CR... I dont believe that they completed their research/evaluating on these plastic ties. No news or word on what NS/CSX had done with these plastic ties.
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Re: concrete vs. Wood Ties

Postby TedBell » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:12 am

lpetrich wrote:Interestingly, the older lines of some recent light-rail systems have wooden ties, while just about all their newer lines use concrete ties.

I checked on Portland, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Dallas, Hudson-Bergen, and Baltimore.

UTA (Salt Lake City) uses wood ties at several switches. I still wonder why composite ties aren't used. The technology must have improved considerably, and I believe the costs are lower than concrete.
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby scharnhorst » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:41 am

Concrete ties are vary popular in Europe on there main lines while wood ties are mostly used on branch lines and industrial tracks and yards there. In some parts of Africa Steel ties are still common to see as well.
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby JWilson » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:06 pm

Wood ties, and even timbers, can be replaced by hand. Replacement of concrete ties requires the use of machinery. Concrete ties must be cribbed out deeper to allow the bolsters to pass under the rails thus requiring more tamping. Concrete "timbers" are unique in their size and placement of bolsters: ie a "timber" marked L64 can only go into position 64 and then only on a left hand switch whereas wood timbers can be used in different locations limited only by their length.
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:33 pm

Herzog Uses Concrete ties where they can,on mainlines,sidings and yard tracks.
they only use Wood ties on switches.
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby Passenger » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:01 am

scharnhorst wrote:Concrete ties are vary popular in Europe on there main lines while wood ties are mostly used on branch lines and industrial tracks and yards there. In some parts of Africa Steel ties are still common to see as well.

Easier to ship the steel ties in from elsewhere than cut down trees in Africa?

What's the benefit?
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby David Benton » Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:00 pm

I believe steel ties are predominately used in areas where termites are a problem. Instead of wood ties .
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby railfan1928 » Mon May 15, 2017 4:25 pm

Concrete is good for passenger rails, wood for freight, because as someone else mentioned, concrete cracks under the weight. It is about as good as wood for the most part, but it costs more, so it has never caught on. Plastic composite ties are the future, and we are very close to finally having a de-facto winner in that category that should be adopted by the Class Is. I would give it five years until major orders go through. It will be interesting to see which tie makers survive until then. Axion is currently the leader, I think.
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby JWilson » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:41 pm

The thing about concrete ties (timbers) used in switches is that each one is made for a specific position. If you need to replace one or more you must have the specific pieces to do it. In a switch using wood timbers, any timber can be used in any position that it is long enough for. Spikes and/or screw lags can be placed wherever they are needed. Need an 11' but don't have any? Throw in a 12' or a 14' or a 16'. If you like, cut off the extra length with a chainsaw and you're golden. Concrete ties give a much louder ride than wood, at least in M/W equipment. Concrete ties and timbers are also much heavier than their wood counterparts. While wood, even 22' timbers, can be replaced using hand tools, concrete requires the use of machinery, which requires at least foul time, more likely a line 4 track OOS. Concrete ties will hold the gauge until they are pretty much destroyed. Wood ties will gradually lose their ability to hold the gauge, getting worse as time passes. There are some wood ties which are remarkably resistant to age and weather. I have seen ties from the 1930s which are still doing their job as well as any that were installed last week.
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Re: Concrete vs Wood Ties

Postby CPSK » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:20 am

I have seen concrete (or composite) ties used on the new sidings and extension of sidings on the CSX River sub between North Bergen NJ and Selkirk NY. Perhaps because much of this line runs right along the Hudson, where creosote from wood ties could leach out and pollute the water? This appears to be for new installations only, as none of the existing ties have been replaced with concrete - even when they are changed out. A grandfather clause?
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