It is currently Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:48 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:58 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:33 pm
Posts: 30
Location: PA
We are beginning a project to renew several thousand railroad ties on our right of way. Many of the ties that are being removed have zero usable life left in them. Obviously every new tie will produce an old tie (more like driftwood). We do not want to leave them all along the right of way. What are some options of disposing these ties? Do they have any kind of value to them? Thanks for any suggestions.

_________________
West Chester Railroad
http://www.westchesterRR.com


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:52 pm
Posts: 442
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
In most/all states, used railroad ties are considered hazardous waste because of the creosote used to preserve them. You must contact your local/state environmental office and seek guidance from them on what to do with the ones you can't use. Also, don't cut them up and use the pieces as kindling in your pot-bellied stoves. The fumes from burning the creosote impregnated ties is highly toxic.

_________________
Jim Vaitkunas
Minnesota Streetcar Museum
www.trolleyride.org


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:53 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:58 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Center Conway, NH
When we replaced ties on the Mtn. Division at the Conway Scenic, the state would hire a contractor to chip the rotted ones. The chips were then sold and shipped to Canada, then burned in a power plant up there.
For more info I'd start by contacting Brian Lombard at the NH DOT Rails Division blombard@dot.state.nh.us

Brian


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 4:10 pm
Posts: 719
Koppers Co. at Muncy, Pa. accepts old ties and burns them in a co-gen. If you're buying from Kopppers they will take your old ones, but if you are buying elsewhere you'll have to pay for them to disappear. Best solution I know of if you don't want them hassle of separating out ties to sell for landscaping or fence posts.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:27 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:25 am
Posts: 934
Granted that this story is from a long time ago, but in 1976, my home museum salvaged an abandoned Pacific Electric spur. Some of the ties were usable, but many were hopeless. Not to worry, local gardeners showed up, ready to haul them off for non-railway use as landscape material.

_________________
Bob Davis
Southern California


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:56 am
Posts: 1309
Location: Roanoke Va.
NS gave us a bunch of used ties for use at 9th St a few years back. After we separated out the good ones, we gave a large number away as landscape timbers. You might be able to make a deal with someone who sells ties for landscaping... no cherry picking... you take all or none.....

_________________
Gary


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 8:19 am
Posts: 492
Location: Scottsboro, AL
G. W. Laepple wrote:
Koppers Co. at Muncy, Pa. accepts old ties and burns them in a co-gen. If you're buying from Kopppers they will take your old ones, but if you are buying elsewhere you'll have to pay for them to disappear. Best solution I know of if you don't want them hassle of separating out ties to sell for landscaping or fence posts.


I believe the Koppers co-gen plant has shut down and is not taking ties. From what I have heard, there is some question whether the facility will be upgraded and reopen, or if this is permanent. When the plant was operating they would burn whole ties only; debris was sent to a landfill and charged accordingly.

We have been using landfill disposal the last couple of years.

Alan Maples
Everett Railroad


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:50 pm
Posts: 1425
Because used ties are now classified as hazardous waste, I don't believe it is legal any longer to sell them as landscape timbers... your gov't at work. I haven't seen any for sale at garden centers for at least ten years. If you give them away, you may find you are liable for the hazmat clean-up when some property owner traces them back to your organization.

The cheapest and easiest solution is to flip them over the ditch and hope no one notices them before they become overgrown with brush... once overgrown, you can claim they are historic and "grandfathered". Otherwise, you need to dispose of them as hazardous waste.

I knew the Ill. Div. crane operator on the C&NW (since retired). As of a couple years ago the UP was picking up all their used ties and shipping them to an old quarry in the Baraboo area, where they land-filled them. I don't know what they are doing currently.

The BNSF local to me has a contractor with a grapple equipped hi-rail truck pick up the cast off ties... no idea where they go.

_________________
Dennis Storzek


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:28 pm
Posts: 142
Location: Dallas, TX
The last word I had is that creosote is not a hazardous material according to the EPA.
The ties may be considered in some states as a carcinogenic material so check with your state.

Burial of ties also may be banned in some states except in authorized waste sites.

In the past, I have sold landscape ties or buried them in an area we needed to fill. I always made sure of plenty of dirt was over the ties. Some places may allow burial along the right of way but the major railroads did not when I was active in railroad construction and repair. I have used a chipping service that then disposed of the material and have also used trash services to send ties and remains to landfills. Not cheap, but effective.

_________________
Harry Nicholls


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:06 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 4:55 pm
Posts: 535
Location: Warren, PA
If it is an active railroad, they can generally stay on the ROW and rot, but like you say, when it gets to be the majority, well... If the railroad is being abandoned, they have to go - and the alternatives are basically incineration or disposal of the ties that are bad enough that no one will steal them. But I have worked in states that didn't allow that ROW disposal, either. We've had to landfill the non-usable ties.

If you're bidding out the tie replacement, you can also make the contractor dispose of any landscape/relay ties as part of the contract.

That 'pile them up by a road and let them disappear ' is sometimes a valid method. You'll see tie piles left near road access, and over time, they seem to evaporate and nobody seems to know what happened. It's the stuff that isn't worth re-using at all that becomes the problem.

I got this notice a few weeks ago from Koppers regarding the tie incineration:

The Koppers Cogeneration facility in Muncy, PA will be going through an extensive shutdown and inspection which is scheduled for mid August. We are anticipating a lengthy outage as we undergo an overall analysis of the operation. During this shutdown, Koppers will not be receiving any fuel. In preparation, we are suspending the receipt of any material as of Friday, August 2, 2013.

Kind regards.

Denise M. Young
Executive Assistant - Railroad and Utility Products and Services
Thomas D. Loadman, Vice President and General Manager

Koppers Inc.
436 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2050
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412.227.2366
412.227.2391 (Fax)


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:58 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:29 am
Posts: 121
Obviously, some are not useful at all...But, has anyone thought to use those that are useful for landscaping? Why not use them to reduce erosion around bridges and drainage pipes,etc? I've seen a number of places where railroads used old peices of rail and old ties, formed into a wall, to try to control erosion. Seemed like a good way to reuse old material.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:18 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:48 am
Posts: 276
Location: Kingston NY
Here at the Trolley Museum of New York (where our ROW is leased from the City of Kingston, NY):

We just had a mile of track rebuilt under a grant, and the bid specified that scrap ties were to be disposed of by the contractor. (I was impressed how tidy the contractor was about this...there was always a dump truck or dumpster present as the excavators pulled old ties. Even though many ties came out as mere splinters, they were fastidious about cleaning them up.)

For tie replacements we do on our own, we just pile scrap ties up along the ROW and when the piles get high enough we have the City provide a dump truck or dumpster to load them in (presumably to be added to the City's landfill haulage).

_________________
--Evan


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:42 pm
Posts: 1811
Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, or a haz-mat specialist. Check your local regulations before doing anything.

That said, they can often be legally disposed of at your local solid waste facility. You should always check with the facility, and be certain to clearly identify them as creosote treated wood products.

Rules vary by location and also the quantity you are looking to dispose of. They are considered "Hazardous Waste", but that term covers a broad range, from treated wood, which is considered low risk, to Plutonium.

Here in the Seattle area, we are typically required to note on the paperwork that the load contains railroad ties. Personally, I like doing that, since it also makes it easy to verify in writing that the facility was aware of the product when they accepted it. Many clients are now requiring a paper trail to show how we disposed of the ties.

Selling ties as landscape ties is legal and acceptable, at least in this area. Not only that, but it can be a good source of revenue. Again, I'd suggest keeping good records, should you later come under question of what you did with all those "huge chunks of nasty hazardous waste that are killing the planet".

Another option is Waste Management, a nationwide company that can dispose of just about anything, creosoted wood, "dirty dirt" (contaminated with oil and the like) and other hazardous materials. I would start with your local municipal dump first though, as they are usually cheaper if they can accept the materials.

EPA info on ties and disposal: (Written for homeowners)
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheet ... assess.htm

You can still buy them at Lowes, which means they're buying them as well. I sell mine to a local landscape place, much easier to deal with and they pay better. (But still well under $10 per tie)

A&K RR Materials will also buy landscape ties, if they have a facility nearby. (They'd buy your relay grade ties too, but why would you want to sell those?)

http://www.lowes.com/pd_4585-199-1630_0 ... facetInfo=

BTW, don't even think of buying these for relay ties, they tend to be total junk!


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:50 pm
Posts: 1425
Quote from the link Bob provided:

"6. Are railroad ties safe for me to use for landscaping around my home?
There are no approved uses of creosote to treat wood for residential use. The Agency is aware that creosote-treated railroad ties are being used in the residential setting for landscape purposes and, in some instances, as a border around gardens. Such uses in residential settings are not intended uses of creosote and have not been considered in the preliminary risk assessment. If you do have creosote-treated wood in your yard, you are reminded to consult the handling precautions outlined above in this document. "

Here is the risk I see... just one among many... A local homeowner buys a bunch of "landscape ties" from your organization. A year later he goes to sell his house, the buyer asks for an environmental assessment, for whatever reason, and of course the assessment will reveal the presence of creosote, which according to the EPA document above has "no residential uses". The assessment will also likely recommend the removal of the ties, along with all the soil that has been in contact with them, to be paid for by the seller. The seller has to pay for this, or he loses the deal. Worse, once informed of this "problem", the seller is required by law to disclose it to any other potential buyers, so he's screwed no matter what he does, and will be looking for someone to sue. You did explain all these issues when you sold him the ties, right, and had him sign a statement that he understood the ramifications? I didn't think so.

We could argue all day about how likely such a scenario might be, but the risk of getting involved seems large compared to the few dollars the used ties will bring.

_________________
Dennis Storzek


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Old railroad ties...what to do with them?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:49 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:35 pm
Posts: 231
Location: Morris County, NJ
ON a project I worked on a few years ago the used ties all had to get shipped to a recycler outside of New Jersey. This was a federally funded project and was a stipulation in the funding stream that the ties must be disposed of properly. I believe they went to Koppers for burning. but plenty were just splinters and dust.

The other issue I would suggest being looked at is pavement millings. The County I work for in NJ generates lots of them each year and at least in NJ they are considered a hazardous waste and must be sent to specific recyclers for re-use in new asphalt. In the past we have used millings for parking lots and contractors have sold them to local residents that wanted them for their driveways. They were excellent for that use, but the State has now started cracking down on allowing those uses.

_________________
cv the civil E in NJ


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Chiman, Google [Bot], Jeff Lisowski, o484, wesp, Yahoo [Bot] and 22 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: