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 Post subject: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 655
Location: MA
So I have been told two different things, one is the when ever you use a used tie to always flip it over to the unused side when spikeing. I have also been told it dosen't matter. Both times I have been told to plugs the ties so we're not using the same holes. What do you guys think?


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:09 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2050
I would evaluate the tie if it will hold the spike. If the current spike is loosish, perhaps a minor shift of the tie or flipping it would be fine for a short run of the tie's use, but in any case you may be looking at changing the tie relatively soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:10 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:40 pm
Posts: 33
Plug holes YES.

Flipping them over... having replaced ones that had previously been flipped over, these are my observations. The top will look great (the part facing up at the sun). Meanwhile, the part that is now in the ground (what was the top) will most likely deteriorate to splinters. The problem is all the creosote has "moved" to the bottom, then you put that on the top, and the part that has none is buried in the ground so it can rot quicker.

I think the reasoning to flip them is less chance of splitting the tie.

Granted, if your ROW is well elevated/ballasted/draining this might be less of an issue... or in a desert (i hear ties there can last upwards of a 100 years... must be nice :)

In the end, I don't see what flipping the tie is buying you.

The one recommendation, if you choose to flip them over when reusing them, do NOT leave tie plates on. Having removed a couple of ties that had been flipped with plates & spikes left on them... it was a real pain. (Im being nice). A bulldozer was almost in order.


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:50 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
Ties are normally flipped to provide a nice uniform base for the tie plate, since it's common for the new plate to be a different size, and the tie to be "plate cut" having an indentation from the existing plate.

On a rail relay project on a mainline railroad, you use a tie adzer rather than flipping ties since it's easier and cheaper. But if you're installing used ties on a new installation, flipping them in the most economical option.


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:57 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:08 am
Posts: 90
Location: Johnstown, PA
Common practice is to flip the tie over with the holes plugged. We have been filling the holes with roof caulk before driving the plug in in an attempt to seal it up some and keep the water out. Ties that have elongated or widened holes that will not hold the plugs are pretty hopeless. The life of any plugged and flipped tie is probably less than 10 years (here in the wet mid-Atlantic state of PA). It is always best to put in the highest quality tie that you can afford. Industrial Grade NEW ties are about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of new mainline grade ties and are a good alternative for the money-tight tourist or museum railroad. If money is available we prefer to put new ties in switches and bridges, then start with joints on curves. Good relay ties work best on well-drained tangents, I think. All depends on the money situation and how dear your labor is.....if you have few volunteers maybe new ties are better even if more costly as the tie replacement cycle is extended and far less people work.....you also have to be careful of your suppliers...we have one firm around here that has good-looking bundles but there will frequently be crappy one on the inside of the bundle where you cannot see them until broken open......


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:40 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
Posts: 139
I was taught that you did not turn the tie over, as the spike hole would act as wicks and draw moister in to the tie.

If the spike holes are too large to plug, then the ties is more or less dead anyway. The ties are only so thick.


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
If you want a professional grade product that is strong enough to respike, you can use Spikefast. It's a great system, endorsed by the mainline railroads, and they offer a manual applicator that's a bit like a giant caulking gun. It's relatively inexpensive.

http://www.wvcorailroad.com/wood-tie-pl ... rview.html

However, I realize that "inexpensive" has a different meaning for many museums. Considering the intended use, you might try using expanding foam from your local home improvement store. After all, based on what you described, your goal is to keep out water, not to provide structural integrity. Given that, it should work OK.


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:58 am
Posts: 728
Once a tie is spike killed, it has very little usable life left in it. If it was absolutely essential to use up every last second of the tie's life I would drive in as many tie plugs as possible- but only if the ties on either side were sound- before re-spiking.

This is bad practice, and flipping a nearly dead tie isn't much better. But I do understand, when funds don't exist, and a source for newer PW ties can't be found, you do what you have to do.

Our museum has finally reached the point where it has ordered its first truckload of brand new ties... a momentous, long awaited occasion for sure. After dealing with PW ties for the last thirty years, it will be wonderful to truly start improving the situation.

Steve Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

How do plastic ties (new or recycled plastic) hold up? I first heard of them being used in Live Steam about 20 years ago and have since heard of them on the prototype.

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
Dougvv wrote:
Hi,

How do plastic ties (new or recycled plastic) hold up? I first heard of them being used in Live Steam about 20 years ago and have since heard of them on the prototype.

Doug vV


Not well. Same for the "recycled ties" ties, which are essentially chipboard made out of used ties. They were both popular for a while, due to the obsession with anything "green". (Sadly, "Going Green" usually refers more to saving money than saving the earth.)

Plain old wood ties are still the most economical option. Concrete ties are becoming available used now, and can be a viable option as well, but you're not going to find any for 85# rail. If you can use 112# rail, you can probably find some that will last a very long time, and they don't care one bit about how damp the location is.


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2158
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
NAUG has used plenty of relay and secondhand ties over the years (along with new and industrials). If the relay tie is badly plate cut, it's usually worthless for relay use. All relay ties we've put into track have had good plate/rail seat area, not needing adzing.

We plug the spike holes and then install top side up, same as before. Yes, the holes on the bottom will wick up water. As others stated, if the spike holes are so large that plugs rattle around, the tie is pretty much a garden tie at that point.

The real cost of ties is the labor and effort to put them into the track. That's why it's false economy to install marginal junk ties, only to have to remove it in less than 10 years (or 5 years), because it's turned into mulch.

Recent tie pricing in our area (truckload quantities):

New 7x9s: $65-70 each
New 6x8s: $45-48 each
Relay 7x9s: $26-28 each

Excellent relay 7x9s are a good choice, IF they really are top-grade ties.

That spike hole epoxy is good stuff, but expensive on a per-hole basis. If there's a production rail relay/gaging gang using a machine to do it, that's much cheaper and a very cost-effective method of plugging.

Howard P.

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"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:25 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 359
FWIW, I would second Howard and AlcoC420. I was always taught to keep a relay tie right side up when reused in track, "eyes to the sky". Plug the holes with either treated timber tie plugs or two-part epoxy tie plugging compound or a bentonite clay-based tie plugging powder. Like Howard said, if your tie is plate cut more than about 1/8" to 1/4", you really don't want to be using it as a relay unless its in a siding or yard track. If your tie plates are equal to or smaller in size than the plate cut rail bearing area and the RBA is still true and flat, you could consider reusing that tie.

Rob Gardner


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2158
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
As for plugs, we used to get creosote-treated plugs-- makes sense when you're plugging creosote-treated ties, no? But they are now difficult to find. The plain cedar plugs are what's common now. Pre-soaking the tie plug sticks in some "compatible preservative" is a good idea.

We've also plugged some holes using outdoor-grade construction adhesive, and some using roofing cement in a caulk tube. They seem to hold up very well. These were holes not in an area being respiked.

Howard P.

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"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:52 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Pittsburgh
I’d recommend not flipping, plugging the holes, and sealing the plate bearing surface with foundation & roofing tar. If the tie is badly plate cut, you probably ought not to use it in track anyway. Relegate it to use as cribbing or a parking lot bumper.

And be very choosy about where to use relay ties. Best candidate location is inside a carbarn where they will stay nice and dry for decades. As Howard noted above, your biggest expense is labor, even if when it’s nominally free. If you’re not going to get at least 20 years out of a tie, it’s not worth your time to install it.

It’s also important to install new ties right side up. Correctly installed, the heartwood of the tree will be facing down. If the heartwood is “up”, the tie is nearly certain to crack longitudinally as it dries out. Split ties will need replaced a lot sooner since rainwater and the fungi which cause decay have an easy route to the tie’s inside. Unfortunately, the gang nail plates now used on the ends of new ties can make it difficult to determine which way the wood grain is sloping. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort to scrutinize both ends of every tie before they’re installed.

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


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 Post subject: Re: Being told to conflicting things about used ties
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
Larry Lovejoy wrote:
It’s also important to install new ties right side up. Correctly installed, the heartwood of the tree will be facing down. If the heartwood is “up”, the tie is nearly certain to crack longitudinally as it dries out.


A lot of the project specifications I get say that the ties must be installed with the heartwood down as well. It is a good idea, for exactly the reasons you suggest.

In practice, it's often not an issue. They're not cutting big trees for ties, at least not on the West Coast. The ties are cut from wood so small that they sometimes have "wane" (rounding) on the edges. There is no up or down, since the heartwood is in the center, and flipping it one way or the other makes hardly any difference. Also, as you noted, by the time you gang plate a hardwood and then creosote, good luck figuring out what's where.


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