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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.


Date: 10/15/01 04:53
Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: jollymon

I can't think of a better place to ask these questions: What are the dimensions of a standard railroad tie? How long is a railroad tie meant to last?

I kinda need to know these things for a landscaping project...

Thanx loads...
Jollymon



Date: 10/15/01 05:19
RE: Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: mediumclear

Unfortunately, ties vary in size depending on their intended purpose. They can be from 8' to 9' long and have cross-sections from 7" x 9" to 8" x 10" and maybe more.

As far as age is concerned, 40 years is often mentioned but that is highly dependent upon the type of wood used, amount of rail traffic, nature of the weather, and ground chemistry.

Sometimes ties are changed out because the area where the spikes are driven has deteriorated or been damaged to the extent that they won't hold spikes properly. This is especially true of ties laid in curves.
For landscaping purposes, these would be ideal since the rest of the wood would normally be in better condition.



Date: 10/15/01 07:04
RE: Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: RRKen

If you have not done so already, ensure that the variety of plants are tollerent to the creasoate in the ties (even 40 year old ties have some that can leach). Thats one reason I went with brick. Also if you are thinking of cutting them yourself, use caution because you never know what may have been driven into a tie at some point in it's carreer.

The contractor here when pickiing up the used ties did not seperate the ties from the curved portion from the ones under the switches and crossings.

Now a days, a device called a "gooper" is used to plug old spike holes in ties with an epoxy material, and it actually provides a better place to drive a spike.


RRKen



Date: 10/15/01 09:20
RE: Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: RS32

Mainline crossties are usually 7"x9" x 8'6", while industrial & light use siding ties are 6"x8" x 8'6".

Depending on where you live, and how much of the year is dry and/or freezing, you can expect around 20-40 years for a new creosoted tie in landscaping service.



Date: 10/15/01 09:24
RE: Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: VunderBob

jollymon wrote:
>
> I can't think of a better place to ask these questions: What
> are the dimensions of a standard railroad tie? How long is a
> railroad tie meant to last?
>
> I kinda need to know these things for a landscaping project...
>
> Thanx loads...
> Jollymon

If you need to cut very many of them (more than 1-2), get ahold of a commercial grade high horsepower chain saw, and have a chain sharpener handy. Ties are as hard on a saw as raw locust wood.

VunderBob



Date: 10/15/01 09:42
RE: Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: cr-engineer1

I don't know why you would want to us railroad ties to landscape with. Hang aroung some ties that have been in the sun for a while. Even older ones start to smell of creosote. It is nasty. Then there is the problem with the creosote bleeding out. There are plenty of pressure treated/Wolmanized wood ties available for landscaping. They look better, you can paint or stain them. You can cut them and not worry about black tar seeping out or metal in them. Their surface is much smoother. Don't try to cut a fat hog in the ass by buying used railroad ties. The smell alone won't be worth it.



Date: 10/15/01 13:06
RE: Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: ge13031

Some of us folks like the smell of creosote ! Never use new RR ties for landscaping ... they will ooze creosote and skin contact leaves a nice burn. Creosote is a very toxic material ... plant and people killer. The EPA lists RR ties as toxic waste until they are 25 years old, after that bleed is minimal. Also remember that tie life is based on proper ballasting which lets the tie dry out. If you keep them moist in a landscaping environment they won't last as long.



Date: 10/17/01 05:49
RE: Some railroad tie (sleeper) questions.
Author: flyboy

Moisture is the one big problem I would be concerned with also. When using ties to retain a berm it can soak the backside of the ties My neighbor used them and did not get but about 5 years out of them. Spend the money on a interlocking block system that is designed for this use. Unless you're you are moving in a couple of years and then they will be someone elses problem. But consider that a block system will enhance the resale value.



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