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Western Railroad Discussion > Quick question about ties. . . .


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Date: 11/28/12 14:37
Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: Narniaman

What criteria do railroads use when deciding to use concrete ties vs. wood ties?

For other than specialized situations (such as on a bridge or in a tunnel), I'm guessing that it must depend on the number of trains a day.

If that's the case. . . how many trains a day are required for the super deluxe concrete ties?



Date: 11/28/12 14:48
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: BNSF6400

Narniaman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What criteria do railroads use when deciding to
> use concrete ties vs. wood ties?
>
> For other than specialized situations (such as on
> a bridge or in a tunnel), I'm guessing that it
> must depend on the number of trains a day.
>
> If that's the case. . . how many trains a day are
> required for the super deluxe concrete ties?

I think some railroads, like BNSF and UP, must prefer concrete ties for all applications (except for use in tunnels, on bridges and some switches) as I have seen concrete ties used for everything from mainline tracks that see 100+ trains a day to set-out tracks that get one movement a year. The Union Pacific has even been installed turnouts to industries that have all concrete ties.



Date: 11/28/12 14:50
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: NWRailfan

In times I've talked to MOW guys while at work running a train, they said it was based on tonnage and the application the concrete ties would be used on. Curvy track is a good example. Concrete ties create a very rigid railroad with little to no give unlike wood ties. Areas on curves where you get plate cut is a good place to put concrete in.



Date: 11/28/12 14:51
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: hartrick24

On average what is the life of wood ties vs concrete ones.



Date: 11/28/12 14:51
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: BurtNorton

A quick rule of thumb in general:

Wood ties are great in yards. When a derailment happens, wood ties tend to hold up better. Concrete ties tend to shatter in a derailment the second the wheel hits them, although some progress has been made correcting that problem. Concrete is great on curved rail to ensure the track stays in gauge. Due to the cost of concrete ties, you are likely only to find them on high yearly gross-ton-mile track segments where the benefits outweigh the cost. Many concrete tie anchor systems are patented and these parts tend to cost more as well. Ex: a railroad spike at a few bucks each, versus much more for a Pandrol clip used on some concrete ties. Overall, routine maintenance on concrete ties is less in the long run, but the up-front costs are approaching triple that of wood.



Date: 11/28/12 15:07
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: BCutter

Not sure about the life of good concrete ties but properly treated wooden ties last about 30 years in normal circumstances. RRs I am familiar with figured on replacing about 3% of their wooden ties per year. My qualification about concrete ties stems from the fiasco in the Northeast with the concrete ties that began failing fairly soon after being installed. IIRC, the company that made them went belly-up. Check with AREA or the Railway Tie Association for details about crosstie life.

Bruce



Date: 11/28/12 15:32
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: Out_Of_Service

on curves ... it's easier to control gage and keep it in class on concrete than on wood that when deteriorating is subject to plate movement



Date: 11/28/12 15:36
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: howeld

Years ago i did a report about ties and if remember concrete ties were projected to have a life of 50 plus years. It all comes down to the quality of the mix used that day the tie was made. As stated above some have been known to fail early and a single derailed car can destroy hundreds of ties.
Wood ties life is heavily dependant on the environment. In a warm wet environment the ties could last as few as 5-6 years where as in the desert they could last decades.



Date: 11/28/12 15:43
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: skinem

"What business would want to invest in such a project when they realize the government basically has an anti-energy agenda?"

Why they prefer not to replace 'em at all because they realize that the government basically has an anti-ANY tie agenda. ;-)



Date: 11/28/12 16:43
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: SoldierSummitRailfan

from my understanding a wood tie costs around 8 to 10 bucks does anyone know what a concrete tie costs



Date: 11/28/12 16:56
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: dcfbalcoS1

Fifteen years ago wood ties were costing $25 for an 8 1/2 ft version. They are probably $50 at least now. Anyone paying $8 to $10 is getting them at the lumber yard for landscaping around the house.



Date: 11/28/12 17:15
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: Out_Of_Service

howeld Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Years ago i did a report about ties and if
> remember concrete ties were projected to have a
> life of 50 plus years. It all comes down to the
> quality of the mix used that day the tie was made.
> As stated above some have been known to fail
> early and a single derailed car can destroy
> hundreds of ties.
> Wood ties life is heavily dependant on the
> environment. In a warm wet environment the ties
> could last as few as 5-6 years where as in the
> desert they could last decades.

Roca delivered defective concrete ties to Amtrak in the 80's that were installed on the NEC that were the subject of a major lawsuit that resulted in Roca paying a huge settlement to Amtrak that eventually led to their bankruptcy and closing up shop and out of business ... in the past 5 years the ties have been rapidly cracking resulting in numerous speed restrictions ... even today there's a program to eliminate all the ties that Roca provided

concrete ties deteriorate rapidly under conditions where the tie is subject to the rigors of pumping in a muddy area where water is constantly being forced against the concrete from the pumping action ... i've seen ties under such conditions that had been installed just 5 years prior withered away to just 6 inches at the meat of the tie

poor surface conditions also contribute to the deterioration of a concrete tie before it's life expectancy



Date: 11/28/12 18:03
Concrete Ties: Failures
Author: Milepost_130

The following paragraph was excerpted from a short article published on October 10, 2012 in Normal, Illinois:

"Union Pacific installed new ties and rails along the Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak route (ex-GM&O) as part of a $1.5 billion upgrade to make way for high-speed trains. About 115,000 of the 495,000 nearly new concrete ties were replaced this summer (2012) because they did not meet durability standards, according to Union Pacific."



Date: 11/28/12 18:05
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: AlbinaRunThrough

I remember on a visit to Donner Pass (Yuba Pass area) in 2008 or 2009 there were some sort of tin, steel, or metal type ties with the ballast almost covering them. There could have been something underneath then but I did not check. At that time UP was also doing a major tie, track, and ballast project between Emigrant Gap and Soda Springs. They definitely weren't wood or concrete ties though...and if it helps they all had the "clip" instead of the spikes.



Date: 11/28/12 18:15
Concrete Ties: Insights
Author: Milepost_130

The following paragraph was excerpted from a short article published on October 10, 2012 in Normal, Illinois:

"Union Pacific installed new ties and rails along the Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak route (ex-GM&O) as part of a $1.5 billion upgrade to make way for high-speed trains. About 115,000 of the 495,000 nearly new concrete ties were replaced this summer (2012) because they did not meet durability standards, according to Union Pacific."

Attached are two images of failed concrete ties. These images were recorded in 2011 on the Northeast Corridor. Thousands of these concrete ties failed after between 12 and 15 years of service.

Finally, over 20 years ago, on the former SP (now UP) at Dragoon, Arizona, concrete ties equipped with Vossloh elastic rail fasteners were installed on one track while wood ties with cut spikes were installed on the adjacent track. As of 2011, no difference in performance had been experienced: both systems continued to perform adequately.








Date: 11/28/12 18:39
Re: Concrete Ties: Insights
Author: 2720

The last time I got prices on wood ties, Hardwood ties were
going for about $46.00 per tie.
There was no price break unless you ordered a minimum of
20,000 ties!! We were buying at 1,000 ties a month!
While at the Carrizo Gorge Railway, I never priced concrete
ties as they would have been to expensive for shortline use!!
Mike



Date: 11/28/12 18:44
Re: Concrete Ties: Insights
Author: Out_Of_Service

Milepost_130 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The following paragraph was excerpted from a short
> article published on October 10, 2012 in Normal,
> Illinois:
>
> "Union Pacific installed new ties and rails along
> the Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak route (ex-GM&O) as
> part of a $1.5 billion upgrade to make way for
> high-speed trains. About 115,000 of the 495,000
> nearly new concrete ties were replaced this summer
> (2012) because they did not meet durability
> standards, according to Union Pacific."
>
> Attached are two images of failed concrete ties.
> These images were recorded in 2011 on the
> Northeast Corridor. Thousands of these concrete
> ties failed after between 12 and 15 years of
> service.
>
> Finally, over 20 years ago, on the former SP (now
> UP) at Dragoon, Arizona, concrete ties equipped
> with Vossloh elastic rail fasteners were installed
> on one track while wood ties with cut spikes were
> installed on the adjacent track. As of 2011, no
> difference in performance had been experienced:
> both systems continued to perform adequately.

the catalyst epoxy mixture that is now applied in the spike holes for clip and fastener replacement before installing the lags for the plates for the rail fasteners has greatly improved life expectancy for wood ties



Date: 11/29/12 07:34
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: hartrick24

hartrick24 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On average what is the life of wood ties vs
> concrete ones.


How about the ride on wood vs concrete ?



Date: 11/29/12 08:03
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: Out_Of_Service

hartrick24 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> hartrick24 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > On average what is the life of wood ties vs
> > concrete ones.
>
>
> How about the ride on wood vs concrete ?

if the track is properly maintained and surfaced the difference should only be the sound ... wood absorbs the sound concrete reverberates it



Date: 11/29/12 08:24
Re: Quick question about ties. . . .
Author: 3751_loony

Around Y2K, west of Needles, CA, BNSF was replacing ties and installing concrete. While there was some down-time waiting for trains to clear, I started chatting with one of the employees. They were planning on using concrete up to a bridge, and come back later to the bridge and replace those with wood. Once the gang got going after the train parade, they replaced ties up to the bridge, had a good groove going, and kept replacing them.

I thought the reason was for better cushioning of the wood ties on the bridge, but someone felt it was better to keep it consistent, I don't remember for sure the reasoning. Thought it was an interesting side-tail at the time.

JimBo



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