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 Post subject: Composite ties
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:21 pm
Posts: 8
Are composite ties worth using. Anybody know their down side.


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 Post subject: Re: Composite ties
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 365
One requirement of composite ties is that you MUST predrill them for spikes or screw spikes. I have walked the track at Ft. Drum near Watertown, NY and they have been using them for a few years now. I saw quite a few in track. I can get you a variety of vendor's contact information if you are seriously considering them. They should insert like a normal wood tie if you are using a tie inserter or backhoe.

Sincerely,

Rob Gardner


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 Post subject: Re: Composite ties
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 311
Location: Ventura County, CA
The Army and the Navy have introduced them in a number of bases. Personally, I love them and have been advocating for the greater use of them, but like all things railroad, the resistance to change is huge.

As Rob said above, you will get best results if you pre drill them. If you don't, the composite material has a tendency to mushroom up and lift tie plates from full bearing on the ties. But drilling is easy. I use my Dewalt cordless drill and a 3/8" drill bit and it goes fast. You can freely mix them with wood with no issues.

We had an Eagle Scout replace the ties under a turnout at the Travel Town museum and they look great. One word of advice, wear gloves and long sleeve shirts. The Axiom ties at least have fiberglass missed into the plastic and your arms will itch for days if you don't.

Only issue I have for the Museum is the gray color. They stick out from all the creosoted ties. But if you have young ones playing on them, they don't have the oil bubbling out or splinters to stab you.

Greg

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Greg Ramsey
US Navy Trackage SME
Travel Town Museum Volunteer


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 Post subject: Re: Composite ties
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 6:51 pm
Posts: 125
I can't speak for current production, but twenty +/- years ago, a Class I supported composite tie manufacturer went bankrupt when it was belatedly discovered that the adhesive reacted to the steel in spikes and tieplates in contact with the tie. There were also manufacturing control issues, wood chips not dry enough in some production runs. I bought some at the bankruptcy sale. Not very good as ties, but stronger than white oak ties when you needed support for jacks during rerailing, swapping out trucks, etc.
Alex Huff


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 Post subject: Re: Composite ties
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:24 am
Posts: 478
Location: Canada
We had a bunch of them installed where I work, and they just plain were a failure. Most broke in half in the middle. I'm not sure if cold Canadian winters caused them to become brittle, or if constant heavy switching was the cause, but 5 years later not a single one remained. What is interesting is that they were replaced by pressure treated ties, which I thought would never work or hold up, yet surprisingly they are holding up quite well.


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 Post subject: Re: Composite ties
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:08 pm
Posts: 26
Staten Island Railway has been using approximately 7,500 sustainable composite ties in St. George terminal for a while now. They seem to be "corrosion resistant" and have been holding up pretty well

http://compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com/2016/04/new-york-city-transit-composite-ties-staten-island/

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-DeAndre W.
(MTA) Metro North Railroad - MofE
Adirondack Volunteer Conductor/Engineer/Mechanical
SUNY Polytechnic Institute Alumni


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 Post subject: Re: Composite ties
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
As others have mentioned, at least some of the suppliers have gone out of business for various reasons. I'm not even sure where to buy them now, the last time I tried, the only supplier was on the East Coast someplace.

While not very useful for a railroad museum, concrete ties have won this battle. In fact, they're so common now that you can easily get used ones. There are several problems in a museum setting though. They're usually designed for big rail, 115# or bigger. I don't know if anyone makes them for smaller rail. Also, if you don't like the grey color of composite ties, you'll really hate concrete ties as they look like nothing else. But if you have a place where you have to bury track under pavement etc, they can be a wonderful option.


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