What are railroad tie plates made of?

Nov 07, 2017
what are railroad tie plates made of?

Railroad tie plate, we also called the sole plate or base tie plate. Railroad tie plate is a kind of railway fasteners to holds the rails to a correct gauge. As a member of the railway fastening system, the railroad tie plates have a crucial impact.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the train system develops slowly. Many countries used the wooden railroad ties as the infrastructure. As an important fastener, the railroad tie plate cooperates with railroad spike to fix the rails on the railroad ties. Besides, punched and sheared from the steel sections, the railroad tie plates can provide a proper bevel, and uniform bearing surface for the rails. Meanwhile, the railroad tie plates load distribution to the ties better.


In general, the railroad tie plate can divide into three types: single shoulder tie plate, double shoulder tie plate and the hook twin tie plate. There are three typical types tie plates.

  • Single shoulder tie plate, as its name, there is a shoulder on the top surface. Along with the railway system developed, the single shoulder tie plate has been knocked out gradually. Nowadays, the single shoulder tie plates are usually used on the outside of the rails
  • Double shoulder tie plate has two shoulders on the top surface. Double shoulder tie plates are a commonly used type tie plate nowadays.
  • Hook twin tie plate is a kind of tie plate which is used for frog and railway switch.  For the hook twin tie plate, we have been made A Study for Hook Twin Tie Plate Testing already, so we can guarantee the quality of our products.

The process of  tie plate

how to make tie plate?

There are many manufacturing methods of the railroad tie plates like casting and forging in the past. With the development of the technology, AGICO Rail as a railway fasteners manufacturer, we try to manufacture the tie plates by rolling the raw materials. For different processing methods, the materials are different. We will introduce the materials according to the different manufacture methods.


As a leading manufacturer in China, AGICO Rail firstly adopted rolling technology to make railroad tie plates. We have a professional team and the mature technology, so we can guarantee the quality of the tie plate. As for using the rolling measures, it has the requirements for the raw material. Generally, for the rolling tie plate, they are made of Q235 carbon steel.

Q235 carbon steel is also called A3 carbon steel. Q refers to the yield limiting, and “235” means the yield value is almost 235Mpa. Because the carbon content is moderate, and the strength, plasticity and welding can fit better. The Q235 carbon steel has a good overall performance so that it is widely used in the railway system.


Casting is the most common method to manufacture the railroad tie plate. For making the tie plate by casting, we would like to choose the QT400-18 carbon steel. The QT400-18 is made up of the steel, carbon and silicon. Cast iron is mainly composed of iron, carbon and silicon alloy. The QT400-18 has better weldability, machinability, and plasticity. Besides, it has high impact toughness at room temperature. Based on these characters, it is always used to casting the tie plates and other rail components.


Forging is a common method to manufacture the tie plate. In term of forging the tie plate, we would like to choose white cast iron. White cast iron, the carbon content is almost 2.5%. Because it contents much more Fe3c, so the white cast iron has high hardness and high fragility. In a word, the white cast iron is difficult to manufacture. Along with the development of the technology, we merely use the white cast iron.

In a contrast, the Q345 carbon steel is used to forging the railroad tie plate. Q345 carbon steel has good comprehensive mechanical properties, good processing performance when at the cold and hot pressing. What’s more, it has good corrosion resistance. Because of these characters, the Q345 carbon steel is typically used in welding parts with high loading.
In a word, AGICO Rail provides railroad tie plate with forging, casting and rolling. For different manufacture methods, the materials which are made of the tie plates are different. What’s more, the different types tie plates have different dimensions. In term of all the different parameters, we provide the custom service for each client. You can customize the tie plate dimensions according to your requirements. 

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