older ones were much heavier, perhaps it was the creosote?
i have a friend with a large retaining wall, perhaps 12 feet high 50
how long do they last? home is about 30 years old, wall must be same
they are thinking of selling...........
house needs lots of work,
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.
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.
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
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?
'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.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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.
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...
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
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.
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.
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?
I suspect there's no way to know and probably wasn't known at the time,
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...
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
Steve in Utah, where they found a new use for sheep
.................................... wool .........
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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