In that era they probably went to the landfill. Today
companies are more aware of the value in scrap, and will
sell anything that's valuable enough to justify the effort.
Working in accounting for much of my tenure I saw many a bill for
truckloads of used rail ties, usually $1.50/each.
Dave in SoTex
Those get incinerated today, they are toxic waste (much to
the annoyance of the railroads, who have to collect them
up and haul them off, instead of selling them where they
happen to be taken up).
Possibly if they've been in the ground long enough for the
creosote to leach out (or they weren't treated to begin with).
Most of Texas is pretty dry, so there's likely a supply of
ancient ties which isn't the case in wetter parts of the
In general, tho, used ties are collected and incinerated.
As I said, this is a great annoyance to the railroads (back
when I worked w/ railroad folk, it was one of the hot button
issues they liked to complain about).
The summer of 1969 I got summer work as a laborer at Southern Pacific's
creosote plant located on the west end of Houston's Englewood Yard,
practically under Lockwood Drive just north of I-10.
Hottest damn summer I can remember often topping 100 degs. Laborer often
meant stickering green ties for air drying, essentially building "towers" of
stickered, cross-stacked ties that involved a fork lift as well as a couple
of us laborers atop the growing stack to position and space those ties with
three-foot long hand hooks.
You sweated constantly which meant you likely were wiping your face with
the back of your gloved hand which meant you couldn't avoid imparting some
of those chemicals on and around your face. My face soon began peeling in
various places and continued to do so all that summer.
And, we handled treated bridge and switch ties using the hand hooks to
drag those along runners then bundling them [usually two over two] and
banding them for shipping readiness.
That facility is long gone now. When I left the railroad in 1994 most
of Southern Pacific's treated ties came from the Kerr McGee plant in
Texarkana. I still haven't figured out why the U.S. rail industry has never
began converting to concrete ties as has most of Europe.
Dave in SoTex
You haven't looked at a railroad recently. Most mainline
trackage is concrete ties now, and has been for probably 20
years. Lightly used tracks are still wood because it's
cheaper to install than concrete.
Recycled plastic ties have been tried. They've had problems
with fastners creeping and other issues. They're also more
expensive than wood. Mostly they're used in wet places where
wood ties don't last as long (especially places were replacing
ties is difficult, like in tunnels).
YEAH! I spent most of the summer of 1969 in Harrah OK. I recall as
kids sitting under the patio cover and watching the thermometer reach
110 degrees F. We spent a lot of time in the cellar to stay cool.
Actually somewhere near Wharton TX there are concrete RR ties being used.
In New York ties (and telephone poles) can only be reused for industrial
purposes... i.e., as ties or telephone poles. These items cannot be
repurposed for landscaping, bulkheads, parking lot posts, or anything else.
On Monday, July 25, 2016 at 5:15:17 PM UTC-4, John McCoy wrote:
About 8 years ago our offices moved from a downtown building to an
office park in the suburbs.
The "Mahogany Row" furniture (72" glass topped desks, 72" credenzas,
matching bookcases, etc.) was showing its age, so it was announced that
any employee that wanted the furniture from their own office, and had the
means to move it themselves, could take it home.
Many of us ended up with some pretty decent looking home offices. In some
cases, the employees didn't want their furniture, but "deals were made".
They came in on the moving day and with help from other employees, took
their furniture "home". Once the furniture left the building, management
didn't care who actually ended up with it, it just had to be removed by the
employee that it was assigned to. One guy furnished home offices for himself
and 2 of his sons.
That circumstance is always subject to change upon delivery of the next
pallet off the boxcar to the lumber dealer ... might be the other way
around on the next boxcar load.
Trust me, someone is ... guaranteed.
It doesn't happen often, mainly for the reasons below, but I have been
known to refuse a load of material that was not up to my standards for
the purpose for which it was purchased.
Benefit of having a long standing _credit_ account with one of the
biggest lumber yards in this area; and their/my sales rep, with whom
I've been dealing for 15 years, is well aware that I make it a point to
personally inspect and sign off on every delivery, before it is unloaded.
Only took a time or two to get some personal involvement before it left
the yard ... but they know I'm gonna exercise a bit of judgement/provide
some wiggle room ... nothing is perfect, but it might be perfect enough,
providing you know how to handle less than perfect material and and make
it work without detriment to the project. ;)
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