Concrete Railroad Ties

19 Jul


They are building a new Railroad Spur Line to a steel mill near some of the fields I work.


Part of the line will be in a curve and they have laid out the iron rails, and the rails already have the curve built into them. But more interesting than that; look at those cross ties made from concrete instead of the traditional creosote coated wooden ties.


They are about the same size as the wooden ties, but just made from concrete.


I can see where they are going to lay the rail between these two pieces of steel then take some sort of hydraulic implement and press them together to hold the rail instead of driving a spike into the wooden tie. That is a new one on me, I didn’t know they did that.


As I was leaving the area I had to wait on this train with 200 railcars filled with coal going to the mill. That’s a lot of coal! It reminds me of a story my Mom tells about long-ago times. Supposedly, when she was 9 months pregnant with me, my Dad was away working at a job and the tank of propane she needed for heat ran out and she had no money for more. She had a woodstove but was also out of wood. It was bitterly cold, so she was forced to walk along the railroad tracks that ran near our home picking up pieces of coal that had fallen off of the train so she could burn the coal in the stove to keep warm. And all she had to wear while she was out picking up the coal was a ratty old housecoat because she was nine months pregnant and didn’t have anything else that would fit. But come to think of it I was born in the summer so how does that work out? Sounds like one of those stories the old folks tell about like walking 10 miles to school every day doesn’t it?


4 Responses to “Concrete Railroad Ties”

  1. pioneer Preppy July 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    Concrete RR ties is a new one on me as well. What does it say when concrete ties become cheaper than wooden ones? I mean the stress on that particular point is going to crack the concrete at about the same time frame I would think.

    As for the Winter pregnant tale… Sounds like you caught a fib 🙂

    • doublebhomestead July 21, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      Yeah, probably just a mixture of memories that formed together to come up with that tale.

  2. A A Gruntpuddock July 21, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    Concrete sleepers have been in use for quite a long time. I remember visiting a factory which had an automated production line run by an old 386 computer, which organised the cement mixing and transport. Only needed a few men to set up and empty the moulds. Sleepers were fixed to rails and complete units exported on railway trucks ready to be laid – much like you would build a Hornby set at Xmas.

    • doublebhomestead July 21, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      They are new to this area but I have discovered they are common in Asia and Europe.

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