Rail sleeper

Jun 15, 2015
Railway sleeper of Agico rail

Railway sleepers, also calledrailroad ties, railway ties or crossties, are an important railway component. Generally the rail sleeper is always laying between the two rail tracks to keep the correct space of gauge.What are railway sleepers made of? Having been developed for more than one hundred years, the railway ties need to meet the different requirements of the various railway tracks. In the past time, railroad ties were usually made of wood and had continued for about 50 years. Then with the development of steel tracks, steel sleepers appeared. And later, the first concrete sleeper experiment was made in Germany in 1906 between the line Nuremberg and Bamberg. In the recent time, concrete sleepers are widely used, especially in Europe and Asia. And in UK, steel ties are common. Besides, plastic composite ties are also employed in the rail track transportation.

Types of sleeper

Wooden sleeper

Historically wooden ties were made of a variety of softwood and some popular hardwoods such as oak, jarrah, karri etc. And they are only suitable for low speed lines with the limit speed of 160 km/h. As to acceptable species of wood for sleepers, the types are European oak, beech, pine etc. But nowadays, wooden sleepers are mostly replaced by concrete sleepers in some countries.

Railroad ties - wood sleeper

Advantage

  • Easy to manufacture and handle Well electrical insulation
  • Easily adapted to non-standard situations

Disadvantages:

  • Non reusable
  • Expensive of the limit wood resource

 

Steel sleeper

In recent times, steel sleepers mostly handle the heavy loads and can be designed to suit different rail track specifications. Because of the same weight as timber, steel sleeper can replace wood sleepers and be used on a ballasted bridge, providing a more durable and stronger solution without increasing bridge load.

Railroad ties - steel sleeper
  

Advantages:

  • Easy to install and manufacture
  • Handle more weight

Disadvantages:

  • Sensitive to the chemical attacks
  • Hard to maintenance
  • Low transverse resistance

We supply steel sleepers of both UIC865 Series Steel Sleepers and BS-500 Series Steel Sleepers, with specifications as below.

UIC865 Series Steel Sleepers
SIZE STANDARD MATERIAL LENGTH
UIC54 UIC865 TO CUSTOMER'S REQUIREMENTS TO CUSTOMER'S REQUIREMENTS
UIC60
BS-500 Series Steel Sleepers
SIZE STANDARD MATERIAL LENGTH
BS75A BS 500-2000 SAE1522
ST52.3
20MnK
SS490
Q255A
1830mm
1900mm
2000mm
BS75R
BS80A
BS90A
BS100A
BS113A

Concrete sleeper

Compared with wooden sleepers, which are increasingly difficult and expensive to source in sufficient quantities and quality, concrete ties are cheaper and easier to obtain. In general, it can also be divided into pre-stressed mono block concrete sleeper and reinforced twin block concrete sleeper. Due to the greater weight which helps sleepers remain in the correct position longer, concrete ties require less maintenance than timber and own a longer service life. In some countries, concrete sleepers occupy a very important position. For example, on the highest categories of line in the UK, pre-stressed concrete ties are the only one permitted by Network Rail standards.

Railroad ties - concrete sleeper
 

Advantages:

  • Cheaper
  • Easier to obtain
  • Less maintenance
  • Longer service life

Disadvantages:

  • Hard to handle due to large weight
  • Difficult to maintain longitudinal level due to higher
  • Inertia moment and lower elasticity

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