Railway sleepers are the horizontal beams supporting the rails of railways
. They can be made from steel, concrete, hardwood
. They are generally 8'6" x 10" x 6" (2.59 x 250 x 150mm).
Many of the original wooden sleepers are now being replaced by steel or concrete ties, especially in countries where termites are a problem because they devour wood. Steel sleepers are preferable because they are strong and light weight making it easier to transport them over large distances. The old wooden sleepers are still valuable however, and can be recycled. (If anyone knows of any more uses please /msg me)
- There are companies worldwide offering a range of high quality furniture and artifacts made from recycled hardwood sleepers.
- The recent resurgence of interest in gardening in the UK (and elsewhere?) has led to an increase in demand for wooden railway sleepers since they are useful in preparing raised beds, borders and for landscaping since they are resistant to rot.