Full Steam Ahead For Recycled Plastic Railway Sleepers

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 30 Jun 2019 22:14
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
What a positive step and project.

What are the costs when compared to concrete and also wooden sleepers as I hope these will be adopted across the network even if they are slightly more expensive and saving money on maintenance.

Will V/Line use them?

Full Steam Ahead For Recycled Plastic Railway Sleepers

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  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Its a Trial to see how they cope on a mainline Broad Gauge Railway. No Vline have not started using them. ATM they are more expensive than concrete but that is expected to comedown
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

polymer is cheaper then concrete and comparable to timber in price. already in use in other states.
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
polymer is cheaper then concrete and comparable to timber in price. already in use in other states.
simstrain

Was not aware of this maybe Vic is late to the party?

Where are the deployed elsewhere?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
These sleepers are apparently very close together, only about a sleeper width apart.

http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/6238599/recycled-plastic-from-mildura-laying-tracks-for-future/?cs=356&utm_source=website&utm_medium=index&utm_campaign=sidebar

Mike.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

QR has been experimenting with composite sleepers for several years. Since February 2017 it has had a contract with Integrated Packaging for the design and supply of 700,000 composite sleepers over a five year period. Trials are underway between Gatton and Helidon, and Chinchilla and Miles on the Western Line.

QR currently renews 80,000 timber sleepers per annum and despite widespread use of concrete and steel sleepers on all mainlines, there are still 2.4-million timber sleepers in use within the QR network.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Sydney has been using them on turnouts and points and on places where concrete is too heavy I believe.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
QR has been experimenting with composite sleepers for several years. Since February 2017 it has had a contract with Integrated Packaging for the design and supply of 700,000 composite sleepers over a five year period. Trials are underway between Gatton and Helidon, and Chinchilla and Miles on the Western Line.
Sulla1

I can see how they would be a good choice in Queensland with the amount of terminates across the state.  Can we assume they have been performing well?
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

terminates
bevans
Are they the insects that infest end-of-the-line stations?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Are they the insects that infest end-of-the-line stations?
"potatoinmymouth"
Yes; you can see the termites' terminal damage that terminates the terminus.
  Big J Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
QR has been experimenting with composite sleepers for several years. Since February 2017 it has had a contract with Integrated Packaging for the design and supply of 700,000 composite sleepers over a five year period. Trials are underway between Gatton and Helidon, and Chinchilla and Miles on the Western Line.

I can see how they would be a good choice in Queensland with the amount of terminates across the state.  Can we assume they have been performing well?
bevans
Spot on Bevans. Steel sleepers have been used in Qld for over 130 years thanks to termites. They were used on the Normanton to Croydon railway since 1886. Phillips sleepers. John Knowles wrote a great book on that railway.

Great to see recycled product being used with concrete mixes.

Recycled Crushed Glass is another product being used in a sand blend for some concrete applications and asphalt. Not in sleepers yet.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

QR has been experimenting with composite sleepers for several years. Since February 2017 it has had a contract with Integrated Packaging for the design and supply of 700,000 composite sleepers over a five year period. Trials are underway between Gatton and Helidon, and Chinchilla and Miles on the Western Line.

I can see how they would be a good choice in Queensland with the amount of terminates across the state.  Can we assume they have been performing well?
bevans

I would assume so - QR is certainly pressing ahead with their use. As part of a $12-million upgrade, the North Coast Line's all-steel 20-tonne axle-load Burnett River Bridge at Bundaberg, which is over half a kilometre long, has just had all of its timber transoms replaced with composite transoms. Several other bridges have recently been upgraded with composite transoms, so the extensive use as sleepers appears almost a certainty.

However in the north, where termite attack is most likely, particularly from the rather terrifying Mastotermes Darwiniensis (the Gaint Northern Termite), the North Coast and Mt Isa Lines are almost entirely concrete, apart from north of Townsville where steel is used - so most of the composites will end up on the Central Line west of Emerald and on the Western, Southern and South Western Lines beyond Toowoomba.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

These sleepers are apparently very close together, only about a sleeper width apart.
The Vinelander
I do wonder what is going on there, even the concretes are very close together. There appears to be barely space to insert the tamping heads. I'll bet the tamping crew loves it - not...
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I sincerely hope that these sleepers turn out to be a howling success.

So far, I have been unable to find any real details as to their cost, weight, axleloads, dimensions and/or number per km etc. I am struggling, however, to see that they will have the weight to contribute to track stability to more or less the extent of concrete.

As I have said, I hope that that they do work to save the trees and support a decentralised industry, if for no other reasons.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
I sincerely hope that these sleepers turn out to be a howling success.

So far, I have been unable to find any real details as to their cost, weight, axleloads, dimensions and/or number per km etc. I am struggling, however, to see that they will have the weight to contribute to track stability to more or less the extent of concrete.

As I have said, I hope that that they do work to save the trees and support a decentralised industry, if for no other reasons.
YM-Mundrabilla
Agree YM, was wondering about the weight of the sleepers, as well...for the stability as you've said, but casting the mind back a while, wasn't there some experimental work going on with treated pine sleepers, which also wound not be very heavy.

I think from some discussion about them, someone said the sleeper weight had bugger all to do with the stability, which was the reason I thought Red Gum or certainly Hard Wood, was used, because it's bloody heavy.

BigShunter.
  emerald-a Locomotive Driver

However in the north, where termite attack is most likely, particularly from the rather terrifying Mastotermes Darwiniensis (the Gaint Northern Termite), the North Coast and Mt Isa Lines are almost entirely concrete, apart from north of Townsville where steel is used - so most of the composites will end up on the Central Line west of Emerald and on the Western, Southern and South Western Lines beyond Toowoomba.
Sulla1

QR put some in on the Clermont branch a couple of years ago, and have since undertaken a massive resleepering project on that line and the line out west to Winton all using wooden sleepers, so make of that what you will.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Are they the insects that infest end-of-the-line stations?
Yes; you can see the termites' terminal damage that terminates the terminus.
Valvegear
My favourite post on RP this year so far.
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
So far we have  Victoria and Queensland using the plastic sleepers and NSW not sure.

Have SA or WA looked at trialling these?
  Alphatron Station Staff

Location: Wellington
Information about the Duratrack recycled plastic sleepers used in the MTM trial here: https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/full-steam-ahead-for-recycled-plastic-railway-sleepers
  Alphatron Station Staff

Location: Wellington
Apologies for the incorrect link. Here is the right one: http://www.integratedrecycling.com.au/railway-sleepers/
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

I sincerely hope that these sleepers turn out to be a howling success.

So far, I have been unable to find any real details as to their cost, weight, axleloads, dimensions and/or number per km etc. I am struggling, however, to see that they will have the weight to contribute to track stability to more or less the extent of concrete.

As I have said, I hope that that they do work to save the trees and support a decentralised industry, if for no other reasons.
Agree YM, was wondering about the weight of the sleepers, as well...for the stability as you've said, but casting the mind back a while, wasn't there some experimental work going on with treated pine sleepers, which also wound not be very heavy.

I think from some discussion about them, someone said the sleeper weight had bugger all to do with the stability, which was the reason I thought Red Gum or certainly Hard Wood, was used, because it's bloody heavy.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
In interpreting the info in the link provided by Alphatron, it seems that they go about 30 to the tonne (no mention of section or length), compared to hardwood (std gauge) of about 12/tonne, steel 20/tonne and concrete 4/tonne. It seems a lot of their field testing has been in QLD, maybe that 30/tonne is for 1067 gauge sleepers.

They are probably very good for applications such as secondary lines, sidings, heritage lines, & etc. I think it will be a while before they challenge concretes in the 22 - 25TAL range at 100 - 160km/h.

What I'm really interested in is seeing how they go in replacing timber transoms
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
In interpreting the info in the link provided by Alphatron, it seems that they go about 30 to the tonne (no mention of section or length), compared to hardwood (std gauge) of about 12/tonne, steel 20/tonne and concrete 4/tonne. It seems a lot of their field testing has been in QLD, maybe that 30/tonne is for 1067 gauge sleepers.
Lockspike
The Duratrack/Integrated Recycling website states that 1 tonne of recycled plastic feedstock makes 30 sleepers. That doesn't include the binders, fillers and other additives that are required to make the sleepers meet their rigidity, density and UV stabilisation specifications, so they will be heavier than 30/tonne. My understanding is that they have a comparable weight to redgum & grey box timber sleepers and the costs are on par with concrete sleepers - but more expensive than new A grade river redgum sleepers, even considering the difficulties in obtaining good redgum these days. This is the reason why their marketing is exclusively about comparing them to timber sleepers (not concrete) and explicitly does not mention sleeper-for-sleeper costs and instead promotes their superior lifespan.

There are competing plastic/composite sleepers on the market that are made overseas and built for heavier duty applications and are thus supposedly equivalent to concrete. It remains to be seen whether their trials will receive the fanfare that Integrated Recycling's product has gotten so far.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

I’d imagine costs would come down fairly dramatically if - and it’s a big if - a steady supply chain and demand could be established, rather than ad hoc trials and orders and the failed plastics recycling market.

The demand is easy to solve once you’ve figured out what to use them for, and it does sound like they’re a good option for low traffic, low TAL, low speed branches from a technical perspective. The supply issues are much harder.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Something to note is that last time I checked, Integrated Recycling was using industrial/agricultural plastic waste direct from waste producers and weren’t using the mixed plastic produced at Materials Recovery Facilities. They might’ve changed their process since 2017 though.

I totally agree on the need for a steady supply contract to get costs down. The Tourist & Heritage Railway sector would be a good starting customer but the problem to date has been financing. This where further government support (such as low-cost loans) could work really well.

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