Railway Preservation News

Composite ties
Page 2 of 2

Author:  Rob Gardner [ Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

All, we bid on a US Army project earlier this year and had to quote composite ties for some out of face tie replacement work on the base. Here is a list of who we solicited pricing from:

IntegriCo Composites - Serepeto, LA
Email: sales@integrico.com
Website: http://www.integrico.com/

Axion Structural Innovations - Ecotrax Composite Railroad Ties - Zanesville, OH
Contact: Jennifer Rohr
Email: jrohr@axionsi.com
Website: http://www.AXIONSI.com
These ties come out of Waco, TX (most composite tie manufacturers as I recall, seem to be in TX or LA, probably due to the concentration of petroleum-related production in the area)

(I believe this was their preferred or recommended vendor if I'm not mistaken)

I also found Atlas Ties just now while doing a random online search but have admittedly never solicited a quote from this company before.
Beaverton, OR

I can tell you that one quote we had, for 7"x9"x8'-6" cross ties, said the ties weight 196 lbs each and before freight their price was $126.50 for a quantity of 2,119 ties.

I have found over the years that these manufacturers tend to come and go every few years. Do your research and ask for references from recent customers. We had one project about 7 or 8 years ago that the customer, a major US shortline operator, had spec'd one specific manufacturer (not listed above) into the project's specifications. By the time we were awarded the project and went to order the material, the company had just filed bankruptcy, though they had the ties produced and waiting for the successful bidder to place the order. We had to pay in advance instead of in 30 days as is normal and then also had to go line up our own trucking to get the ties shipped since they couldn't get any truckers to haul for them (surprise, surprise).


Rob Gardner

Author:  NKP1155 [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

Those ties that broke in the center would have been caused by "center bound track". The cribs can be full of ballast, but only tamped under the rail area, the center of the tie needs to be able to flex.

Author:  mvitale [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

Ok I found them:

Welcome to Composite Railroad Ties
806 Warrington Ave, Danville, IL 61832, US

We sell new composite (plastic) railroad ties for farm and landscaping use, fence posts, retaining walls, borders, etc.

What do we sell?

We sell brand new railroad ties made from a dense composite plastic that serve a variety of purposes. They are heavy duty (not cheap, light recycled stuff)and won't rot or split like wood ties. They can be cut, drilled, screwed, nailed, or even painted. They are designed for actual railroad use, so they are heavy and durable and will stay in place once installed.

What are the uses?

Let your imagination run wild! We have had customers use them for fence posts for cattle/farm use, retaining walls, raised bed gardens, landscaping, lining driveways, along ponds/docks, and even as a base for a house for Macaw Parrots!

They don't seem to be promoting railroad use. Possibly these are seconds or failed the original design?

They might be ok for museum use.

Author:  RCD [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

A lot of our trackage at the trolley museume is compleately buried these would be awesome.

Author:  robertmacdowell [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

Larry Lovejoy wrote:
"cheaper than wood" doesn't pass a sniff test.

Have you priced wood ties recently? Demand seems to have run amok and is driving prices over the moon.

Author:  Randy Gustafson [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

The basic question could be answered by them to see if they meet an AREMA industrial grade 3 crosstie spec - which is the smaller size and less-critical spec that is typical for light use.

There's a bunch of creative alternatives; we've done several jobs with steel ties, too. I've looked at a smaller concrete tie made for spot tie replacement where we had a client with severe termite issues. Does exist. Only reasons we didn't use it was that the state Historical Commission didn't think it appropriate.

A lot of non-wood alternatives haven't held up, and some of the wood nonstandard solutions haven't either. But you'll be in good company, NS just realized they have a ton of mainline ties that didn't meet creosote spec and some were just painted instead of treated. Watch out for 'great deals' on relay ties there, too.
https://wtop.com/local/2017/10/railroad ... defective/

Author:  Larry Lovejoy [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

“Ok I found them:”

Thanx, although an actual link would be helpful: Here it is:

You're correct that they are evasive about whether these ties are actually suitable for railroad use. Possibly, they don't meet some part of the AREMA spec for composite ties. They may actually be suitable for museum use, hence why I asked Les Beckman to find out more information for all of us.

"Have you priced wood ties recently? Demand seems to have run amok and is driving prices over the moon."

Yes, I have. And the prices were around one-third the composite tie price noted by Rob Gardiner in his earlier post.

“...if they meet an AREMA industrial grade 3 crosstie spec “

Actually, there is no such spec. Ties are now classified as either six inch grade or seven inch grade. The old classifications of Grades 1 through 5 were discontinued by AREMA and the Railway Tie Association over a decade ago although the obsolete terminology still appears elsewhere. Old habits die hard. “Industrial grade” was never an AREA/AREMA classification but rather something the industry uses for anything that doesn’t meet AREMA spec or is otherwise rejected by the railroad customer.

"But you'll be in good company, NS just realized they have a ton of mainline ties that didn't meet creosote spec and some were just painted instead of treated."

I’ve not seen any of the legal documents in that case but it involves ties produced by Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. Boatright is now a division of Stella-Jones, Inc. although the period of time when Norfolk Southern alleges the defective ties were provided apparently predates Stella-Jones purchase of Boatright. I rather doubt that the ties were only "painted" – that would be too labor intensive. More likely they were only kept in the treatment cylinders long enough to make sure all of the surfaces were black, versus keeping them in the cylinders under pressure until such time as an average of 8 pounds of creosote had been absorbed per cubic foot of wood. The product used to make them black also might not have been the specified coal tar creosote. But that's all speculation on my part. The facts should come out during the litigation. Meanwhile, as Randy suggests, be careful of what you buy. If you can, inspect the ties when they are being treated so you can see for yourself how it's being done. You'll have a much better chance of getting a problem corrected then than you will after the ties have been shipped to your site and the trucker is anxiously waiting for you to finish unloading his trailer.

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.

Author:  Bobharbison [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Composite ties

"Have you priced wood ties recently?"

Yes, I have. And I'll be more than happy to sell you wood ties FOB the plant at $126.50 per tie all day long! Very happy indeed, as that's over double what wood costs.

I rather doubt that the ties were only "painted"

I agree as well. Not only because it's a lot of work, but NS is really big company, which makes them a really big customer, and they also have a really big legal department. You'd have to be really stupid to intentionally ship materials that aren't what you quoted to somebody like that.

Do I believe they're not treated as well as they could be? Sure! A lot of the specs say "8 pounds or refusal" and with the steam dried ties they treat these days, creosote doesn't penetrate worth a dang! It pretty much does appear to be paint, as the barest scratch and you're down to white wood. But I don't think it's intentional, just shoddy work.

Edit: Just read the article. If the allegations are true, well then, I guess "pretty stupid" applies. I'll let the court decide that one.

Page 2 of 2 All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group