Mark Robak
Tim Starostka
Pat Phillips
Ryan Karr

Tag: railroad contract services

railroad track steel ties - Constructing New Tracks concept image

Constructing New Tracks? Which Railroad Ties to Use

Whether you are constructing new tracks to replace old and worn tracks, or you’re doing maintenance on current tracks, the most essential part of having a stable track line is what ties you choose to use. There is always a question of what the situation demands, what budget allows for, and what is available, and in what quantities. For this reason, there are several different materials that are used depending on the circumstances for constructing new tracks.

Railroad Ties vs. Railway Ties

The terms railway and railroad are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a distinct difference between the two. A railway is a system of tracks that are used to transport trains, while a railroad is a company that manages and operates a railway system. In other words, a railway is the physical infrastructure, while a railroad is the entity that owns and maintains it.

There are all sorts of different railways in existence, from passenger systems to freight lines, and they can be found all over the world. Railroad ties, also known as crossties or sleepers are the primary lateral support for the rails themselves, anchoring the track and giving it a solid, sound base upon which trains can pass over. (Credit: American Rails). 

Wooden Railroad Ties

A variety of wood types were used when creating wooden rail ties such as hardwood and softwood timbers. The main benefit of using wood is that it is relatively inexpensive and can be obtained in greater quantities—which is important when you’re laying down track, the miles add up. However, these benefits have been fading as the years draw on as timber becomes much more difficult to acquire.

 The drawback to using wooden ties is that wood is susceptible to rotting due to moisture. Splitting is another issue that compromises the integrity of that particular railway track. Not as common, but dangerous nonetheless, is that wood ties can catch fire.

Overall, wood has a good balance of longevity and cost which makes it a solid option for using in your railway ties. It’s also the most commonly used tie—according to the RTA, which states that roughly 15 million of the 17 million installed ties are wood. That’s over 90%!

Concrete Railroad Ties

Concrete rail ties benefit from being very inexpensive to purchase and can at times be easier to acquire compared to timber. Concrete rail ties are also excellent for carrying heavier weights and are very stable, thus allowing for higher rail speeds.

Steel Railroad Ties

Steel ties have in the past been badly abused due to rapidly changing conditions and technology imposed on them. Many of these old steel ties are actually still faithfully in service today globally which is a testament to steel despite being outdated in design.

Modern steel ties can handle significantly heavier loads and environmental conditions. Creosote-treated wood ties and concrete ties are more impractical to install compared to steel. One of the reasons is that steel can be neatly stacked and transported more easily, it’s also lighter and can be more easily installed onto the existing track ballast than other materials.

Railroad Tie Installation

R&S Track is a premier railroad contractor in the Midwest United States. We have proudly been in business for over 27 years and have had the confidence of numerous companies seeking a variety of solutions including but not limited to:

  • Consulting
  • Surveying
  • Project Design
  • Railroad Tie Installation/Track Maintenance
  • New Track Construction

We have a 100% track record of customer satisfaction. Don’t believe us? Drop us a line and references will be available on request. Call us now at (402)-564-1801 for any service inquiries or price estimates!

what does a railroad contractor do.

What Does a Railroad Contractor Do?

The Importance of the Railway System

What does a railroad contractor do? While many people might consider railroads a thing of a bygone era, they still offer an incredible means of transport for a variety of raw materials and goods that must make their way across the contiguous United States. Steel, lumber, and all manner of incredibly important industrial necessities make their way en masse through railroads. Without these materials, many industries would come to a screeching halt as their means of production have been stifled. As you might imagine, this means that the railroad system in the United States serves an incredibly important function as part of the backbone of the economic growth of the country.

What Does a Railroad Track Contractor Do?

In the aforementioned paragraph, we talked about how important the railway system is to economic growth and for the function of many critical industries. Because of how important the railway system is, it means that there must always be talented people who can maintain the integrity of the railroads to ensure their proper functioning.

#1 – Railroad Track Consulting

How many people do you know have intimate knowledge of how railroad tracks work? Like all industries a compliant and certified railroad track contractor can offer professional counsel on how to lay tracks, repair them, maintain them, and most importantly understand what to look for when performing an inspection.

#2 – Railroad Track Rehabilitation

Track rehabilitation provides the bulk of services for many railroad contractors. Many existing railways have been around for several decades. From rain to snow to sunshine the elements beat on these tracks every single day. Spanning hundreds of miles it isn’t unusual that many parts of tracks become exceedingly worn over time and are in need of serious repair lest they risk derailments, loss of cargo, and other impediments to business as well as passenger safety.

Track maintenance and rehabilitation go hand in hand. Remember it’s not just the tracks themselves that require touch ups but also the more intricate parts such as the switches, bolts, fasteners.

#3 – New Rail Construction

We’ve already observed how critical the railway system is to industry, so it makes sense that laying new tracks is important after project design and surveying efforts have brought forth the best solutions for current pathing needs. As companies grow and expand, naturally they will need to be a part of a new line or connected to a current track line so that they can transport their goods as efficiently as possible.

What Does A Railroad Maintenance Company Do?

Over the years railroads start to experience wear and tear due to carrying heavy loads day in and day out. Its important to maintain your railway every single year. In order to maintain your railway, a typical railroad maintenance company should maintain the following:

  • Rail Grinding: the rail grinder corrects any warping or grooves in the railway.
  • Rail Replacement: upgrading your track to a higher gauge is very common.
  • Tamping: Is needed to correct the alignment of your railway.
  • Track Stabilization: helps compact the ballast underneath the rails and reduce lateral resistance.
  • Ballast Injection: ballast injection corrects the longitudinal profile of the rails.
  • Sleeper Replacement: bad sleepers can cause trains to derail, replacing them is very important.

Midwest Railroad Contractor

R&S Track has been servicing the track maintenance needs of the Midwest since 1987! We have an excellent—no pun intended, track record of getting the job done. We are OSHA safety compliant, DOT safety compliant, as well as ISNET certified.

Servicing railways is a job that has a level of danger that comes with it. It is crucial that you partner with a railroad contractor that not only can get the job done, but also respects the rails.

Contact us today for all of your railway servicing needs and we’ll be happy to answer your call as well as any questions you may have.

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