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Passenger Trains > What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?


Date: 12/24/03 10:26
What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: NE933

What tree species are used most often?



Date: 12/24/03 11:18
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: rdg484

Locust, most often. But make sure all thorns are cut off first.
;>)



Date: 12/24/03 11:29
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: czephyr17

Many different species have been used over the years, but I suspect the most common prevalent species currently used on US railroads is oak. Railroads use hardwood almost exclusively now, but up until about the 1970's or 80's, soft pine type woods were used a lot in the west (where hardwood was less available). These did not stand up well to heavier 100 ton cars that were beginning to be used at the time, so railroads pretty much went to hard woods, or even to other materials such as concrete ties.



Date: 12/24/03 11:40
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: dan

peckerwood



Date: 12/24/03 12:04
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: SurflinerHogger

I have a great coffee table made out of peckerwood.



Date: 12/24/03 16:33
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: SKUNKRAILROAD




Date: 12/24/03 23:09
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: Amtrak288

A Conrail Conductor told me at one point that ties were made out of Cedar.



Date: 12/26/03 12:01
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: steeplecab

Milwaukee experimented with some cedar ties. They didn't stand up well enough to be considered a good idea. Too soft.



Date: 12/26/03 13:30
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: gladhand

December issue of RailwayAge mentions a new tie from PlasTie LLC. Standard oak ties are encapsulated in 1/8" plastic, which inhibits moisture from entering or leaving the crossties. Colored black for maximum UV protection. Provides longer life & lower annual cost than the creosote ties which have been the industry standard for 150+ years. Can be interchanged with creosote ties without compromising performance.




Date: 12/26/03 13:53
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: rresor

Ties are graded from #1 (low quality industrial) to #6 (high quality). This grading has to do with creosote penetration and conformity (variation in length and width).

Standard mainline wood ties are either 8'6" long or 9' long, and 7" deep by 9" wide. Branch line and yard ties are same length, 6x8. #1 trhough #3 ties will show considerable variation in both length and cross-section.

All grades of ties come in choice of three different woods:

1) oak
2) "mixed hardwoods"
3) softwood (usually yellow pine or similar)

Oak or mixed hardwood is essentially mandatory for mainline ties.

Various other materials, including of course concrete and steel, have been used for ties. Concrete has worked out fairly well in North America, steel not so well.

Plastic ties are now being made by several companies. Largest is TieTek, based in Houston. They've sold a half million ties to UP. These are a rubber/plastic composite that is pre-drilled and can be spiked just like a wood tie. They've looked very good in tests at Pueblo. Cost is about 50% higher than wood ties, but substantially less than concrete (especially when the cost of elastic fasteners for the CC ties is figured in). We'll see.



Date: 01/04/04 19:50
Re: What kind of wood are railroad ties made from?
Author: FECSD40-2

I've heard that there are some recycled ties that are made of ground up wood held together by a glue/plastic mixture, which can be treated like wood. I wonder how these have worked out?



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