Wooden Sleepers

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by crablab, 13 Feb 2020.

  1. crablab

    crablab Member

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    Here's a picture from just West of Staines, as you head out over the Thames towards Reading.

    To me, the sleepers look in very poor condition and they are still wooden! (Either side of the junction are concrete)

    I assume that the pointwork is the expensive bit to have custom made, and hence why this section has remained, but at what point do wooden sleepers need replacement?

    (These are not the ones in worst condition - they were just the easiest to take a photo of!)

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/1GZsXKtzSwX1DMcy6
     
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  3. bassmike

    bassmike Member

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    At least they're not bullhead.
     
  4. alxndr

    alxndr Member

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    I can't comment on when they need replacing, not my area of expertise, but they're certainly far from the worst I've seen. Presumably the insides are still sound and it's just the surface that has started to deteriorate.
     
  5. mcmad

    mcmad Member

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    Nothing wrong with wooden sleepers in general and those are just a bit weathered. The baseplates held in with spikes however (Pan 8's?) should be changed as they're not great for lateral strength.
     
  6. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    They are fine!
     
  7. Dunfanaghy Rd

    Dunfanaghy Rd Member

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    Ugh! Lockspikes.
    On a renewal at Bournemouth, country end of the Down Platform where it was quite wet. As the panels were lifted out the baseplates left some of the sleepers behind - about 1 inch of spike showing under the plates, the rest had rotted away. Some PW engineer was a very lucky person that it lasted that long without embarrasment.
    Do NR use plastic sleepers yet? I've seen them on the Ffestiniog and was told that they had NR approval.
    Pat
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I've seen far worse than those. In the 90s the Ormskirk-Preston line had about a third of them visibly broken in half.

    Some countries (e.g. Switzerland) only use wood, not concrete (except possibly the new-build lines).
     
  9. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    I’ve seen sleepers ‘left behind’ when panelling out several times. Sometimes even with concrete!

    There have been trials with plastic sleepers, but as ‘specials’ for cable routes, or where low weight is required etc.
     
  10. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    The worst for leaving sleepers in the ground are BR spikes.
    On one site we went to lift out 60ft panels with a Tracklayer and 2 sleepers stayed attached to the rail on the first lift.
    Very quick rethink on method of track removal.
     
    Last edited: 14 Feb 2020
  11. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    No expert ( compared with others here) but they seem ok to me.
     
  12. jumble

    jumble Member

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    The Manx Electric Railway still installs wooden sleepers with track spikes ( If not we saw brand new track in 2016 when we visited)
     
  13. Put Kettle On

    Put Kettle On Member

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    Here & there , but mainly there .
    On most of the chairs, in the four foot where it has been possible to fit it, there is a torx headed screw, assisting the spikes to hold the chair / baseplate to the sleeper .
     
  14. themiller

    themiller Member

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    I remember seeing a machine on television which hit the sleeper and analysed the echo made. Depending on the noise from the wood, the sleeper could be sentenced to require immediate replacement, replacement in time or OK.
     
  15. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    I thought the old school Section Managers used to do it with a special spiked hammer. ( I recall some sleepers taken out on the "lightly trafficed !" DC lines near South Kenton which disintegrated like Cadbury Flake bars on removal) - suffice it to say there was some urgent spot resleepering and then track renewals.
     
  16. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    While I might agree about places like Canada largely sticking with timber, SBB will sell you a used Swiss-made concrete sleeper or two, suggesting they have been out there for a long time now if they are considered life-expired for rail purposes.

    https://sbbresale.ch/en/product/used-concrete-sleepers/

    BLS is using them all over its system - Utzenstorf is well off their main line.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomas_neuhaus/9380779170/
     
  17. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    When it was used around Leeds area it was nicknamed the Bonker.
    Depending on where you stood when using it, you could get 6 different results and there were only 6 options to select.
    I went out with it a number of times and in the end after about a 5 year gap every site got relaid Wether through results from the Bonker or through normal means I do not know.
     
  18. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Yes, I remember seeing that on TV. I think it won "invention of the year" or some such on Tomorrow's World.
     
  19. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

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    I know old style gangers use a keying hammer to do the same thing.
     
  20. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    I think there was a special tool , which was often used to check pole lines (when these things existed) - a workmate related a long ago DCE saloon inspection tour on the Cambrian , which had several of these on board.

    Along with a copious supply of bacon , tea etc.

    Yes - keying hammer was often used in my recollections. Track walkers carried that and a large spanner for the fishplate bolts.
     
  21. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    Still do!
     
  22. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Member

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    It looked like there were some plastic sleepers being installed today at wimbledon on the lul lines although where they were digging is also used by swr. They looked very moulded/extruded. Be interested if anyone knows if my eyes where correct.
     
  23. sw1ller

    sw1ller Established Member

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    There’s some wooden sleepers near Dee Marsh that I wonder how they don’t hit the bottom of the train as it passes over, the ones you’ve photo’d are in waay better condition.
     
  24. Dstock7080

    Dstock7080 Established Member

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    Yes, LU have been using black plastic/resin sleepers on pointwork for a short while now.
     
  25. bassmike

    bassmike Member

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    One of the most eye-opening sights I remember was on a railtour from the west -london line going round one of the Latchmere curves (cant recall which one0 when i noticed that on the opposite line,I estimated one in three or more keys were missing and laying on the ballast.This was of course on the revered bull-head track.
     
  26. Penmorfa

    Penmorfa Member

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    Although one has a Pandrol clip missing.
     

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