• What happens to old Railroad wooden crossbeams?

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by ruslan35
Are they recyclable for anything else? I remember seeing a show about it, but cant recall what they were being used for.

Any help appriaciated!
  by RussNelson
Creosote is carcinogenic, so they're mostly considered hazardous waste these days. That means that railroads try to use and reuse them until they're just splinters. The Class 1 railroads sell them as re-lay ties to the Class 2 railroads, and for all I know, the Class 2 sell their discards to the Class 3 railroads, then the Class 3 sweep them up, put them in a bag and sell them to Class 4 railroads (maybe I exaggerate?). If somebody can come up with a way to profitably transport and dispose of them, they'll have a gold mine, because there are tons and tons of old ties lying alongside railroads.
  by GSC
I assume he means crossties?

Some people have access to them and build garden walls and other landscaping. They are obviously different from Wolmanized CCA 6x6 "ties" you buy at the Big Orange Box store. Wonder how pro landscapers can use them with the creosote in them.

Giveaways to their rail heritage are "C" and "S" clips in the end grain, and wear marks and holes from tie plates and spikes.

I think I saw that show about recycling them, but I don't remember what they do with them either.
  by deezlfan
Treating plants used to burn them for the steam required to treat the ties with creosote in the first place.

Ties that were too far gone to reuse were often just dumped along the ROW. Now some tie suppliers actually broker the
collection and disposal or recycling of the used ties. I would assume it would be most economical to return used ties
in the same cars that deliver the replacements. Anyway, the ties now have a viable market value. They are chipped or
shreaded and sold as fuel, and despite the creosote they are said to burn hotter and cleaner than regular wood. Ties
can also be reused by chipping and compositing the solid wood fibers with plastic, rubber or resins.