Weight of a railroad tie?

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How much does a railroad tie weigh? We are thinking of using some for a landscaping project but are wondering how difficult they might be to handle.
Perce
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older ones were much heavier, perhaps it was the creosote?
i have a friend with a large retaining wall, perhaps 12 feet high 50 feet long,
how long do they last? home is about 30 years old, wall must be same age...
they are thinking of selling...........
house needs lots of work,
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My house was built in 1986 and the front yard was landscaped with RR ties. I'm in the central valley of CA (HOT, bone-dry summers; wet, foggy, cool winters.
As of the last few years, the RR ties are deteriorating badly. Totally infested with roaches and other bugs, albeit no termites.
I guess 22 yrs isn't bad, but the bug infestation isn't pleasant.
-Zz
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So how come the two of you (in this thread) did not even come close to answering OP's question?
I built a small retaining wall out of used RR ties about 28 yearfs ago. The ties were well used at that time and they still weighed over 100 lbs each. There were a B _ _ ch o handle alone, but with a helper it wasn't too bad.

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I'm sorry. Was I drunk, disoriented or absent the day you were put in charge?
Steve

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Probably all three.

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That would explain my half of the debate. What about yours? If you are in charge of this newsgroup, I'm either going bowling or going to kill myself.
Steve

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If you're referring to real RR ties, and not pressure treated landscape ties, they're not only heavy, but they're dirty and messy, and I'd guess about 100 lbs each. More important, they're soaked with creosote, which stinks, and it's sticky, and you certainly won't easily get it out of your clothes
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On 04/27/08 08:04 pm RBM wrote:

I did rough calculations and guessed maybe 150 lbs. I know about the creosote and have no problem with the smell. But are RR ties still sticky by the time they are "pensioned off" by the railroads?
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

'pends on how long they've been laying around. But I can tell you from personal experience that unless you and several very good friends are both large and in good shape, that trying to move them around by hand will get real tiring real fast.
You'll need a chainsaw to cut 'em, too. Just make sure that there aren't any spikes hiding in them.
nate
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Walter Johnson, and "Death Valley Scotty" bought up the old railbed from a train that ran from Rhyolite, Nevada past their ranch in the desert. They bought and stacked thousands of ties intending to use them for firewood. They spent a lot of money, time, and effort.
When they burned the first tie, they realized that they could not use any of them because of the acrid smoke from the creosote.
They still sit stacked at Death Valley Ranch, about 100 years later.
Steve
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

Varies depending on age, species, etc., but can figure an used 8-1/2-ft standard tie will be a minimum of 100-lb to an average of probably 125 or so. New may be 125 to as much as 175. I've been replacing some in the feedlot fencing from the stockpile of used ones that has been here for 20 years at least so they're dried out as they're gonna' get. Some are relatively easy to handle, there are some I still can't carry by myself but have to lift one end at a time...
You'll need a buddy w/ a strong back...
--
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Depends. Youw ill run into some that are easy to handle, most will be best at one end at a time and few in the "Dayum!" category. I did fencing and retaining wall (100 ft x 5') high back in the early 80s. Some of them are already rotted off, others are still rock solid.
Creosote - depends on how heavily treated. If you can smellit when you pick them up, you will smell it on a hot day for severall years to come. I would give mine a sniff test but the eweather isn't warm enough yet. Don't recall smelling any last year though.
Ties make a cheap retaining wall (compared to alternatives) but have thier drawbacks.
Harry K
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

I actually once weighed some. The ones that I had were around 180 pounds, of course, YMMV. Quite a challenge to move them by my self.
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It varies with the wood. Some were made intentionally for railroad use, and some were made intentionally for landscape design.
The ones on the railroads I would estimate at close to 200# each, and landscapers at up to half that weight.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

But even for those which are actual r-r ties they can be different. There are two groups in the batch I have, both of which are used ties ("used" as in having been rail ties)--one is white oak, the others are yellow pine. Needless to say, there's a difference in average weight between the two groups owing to the density difference of the two wood species. Within that, there are still pine ones that weigh more than some of the lighter oak ones.
When in TN, I spent quite some time at a small one-man sawmill in order to get good deal from the old codger on hardwood that came in hit-n-miss where his prime business was ties for the N&W or mine timbers. These were mostly oak w/ black locust also used when it was brought in by the loggers. OTOH, farther south and west where there were few if any hardwoods, SYP was common and in the west firs and other coniferous were/are the most likely to be found.
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Yes. IOW, in a lot of places, they used what they had. This was particularly true on the first coast to coast railroad. I would be interested in the exact number of different tree species used for those.
In railroad ties, to a real old railroad person, I'm sure that there would be a list starting from the best to the worst, yet sometimes they used the worst for lots of reasons. It was close, cheap, etc.
And wouldn't gauge (width) of the wheels dictate the lengths of the ties?
Steve
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SteveB wrote: ...

I suspect there's no way to know and probably wasn't known at the time, even.

>

For standard line ties, of course. There are a multitude of other lengths as well for special purposes such as switchpoints, etc., of course. A standard rail tie these days is nominal 8' 6" (or at least was when I was sawyering and are what the ones I have are, which are roughly 30-yr of age now, being left over from the truckload we bought when first built the lots).
Now, unfortunately, often the railroads use the big rippers that go down the center of the track and split them in two and simultaneously roll the tie and rail to each side of the roadbed before laying new seamless rail--consequently used ties the traditional way of buying them from the railroad and going and picking them up along the right-of-way where they were being replace is getting pretty hard to come by here. My pile is down to only a couple dozen so I've been keeping my eyes open but nothing has shown up yet...
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In my part of the country, you can buy some really old ones with a Wanted ad in the local Quick Quarter or on the AM Tradio station. And sometimes remarkably reasonable.
Steve in Utah, where they found a new use for sheep .................................... wool .........
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SteveB wrote:

...
Where in Utah? Used to service coal analyzer at Huntington plant...UT is too far to haul economically for less than full tractor-trailer load which I don't need.
Listen to local AM show most every morning and weekly state-wide ag call-in; haven't heard ties mentioned in don't know when... :(
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