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How to Choose Right Type of Sleeper for Your Railway Project

Types of railway sleepers for railway project
How should you choose the right type of sleeper for your railway project? Recycled plastic sleepers, corrosion-resistant concrete sleepers, or choose wooden sleepers? This article will analyze how to choose the right type of sleeper from different dimensions.

There are three main types of mainstream sleepers that are popular on the market now: wooden sleepers, concrete sleepers, and a new type of composite sleeper developed in recent years- Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene plastic sleepers. The materials of the sleepers are different, but their functions are the same. The sleeper must support the rail and fix the position of the rail.

Wooden Sleepers have the Most Price Advantage

Wooden Sleepers have the Most Price Advantage

The railway sleeper was originally made of wood. The wood has good elasticity and insulation, is less affected by the temperature change of the surrounding medium, is light in weight, easy to process and replace on the line, and has sufficient displacement resistance. Wooden sleepers are damaged too quickly under hot and humid conditions. Treated wooden sleepers generally last 5 to 15 years. Almost all wooden sleepers are treated with creosote oil for corrosion protection, which has increasingly become an environmental problem, and the processing cost of each quality sleeper is 5-25 US dollars or more, and the price is still rising steadily.

  • Advantages: convenient to obtain materials and low price.
  • Disadvantages: easy to corrode, damage too quickly in hot flashes.
  • Applicable scenarios: ordinary trunk railways with dry environment and limited budget.

Concrete Sleeper with High Stability

Concrete Sleeper with High Stability

Concrete sleepers have long service life, high stability, small maintenance workload, and much lower damage rate and scrap rate than wooden sleepers. On the seamless track, the stability of concrete sleepers is 15-20% higher than that of wooden sleepers on average, so it is especially suitable for high-speed passenger lines. For example, Shinkansen in Japan and high-speed trunk lines in Russia are used. Of course, concrete sleepers also have disadvantages, especially because they are much heavier than wooden sleepers. Because concrete sleepers consume too much metal, they are expensive and bulky, so they have not been widely promoted.

  • Advantages: high stability, long life, and small maintenance workload.
  • Disadvantages: The weight is too large, the price is high, and the laying is difficult.
  • Applicable scenarios: seamless lines, high-speed railways.

Recycled Plastic Railway Sleepers with Excellent Performance

Plastic railway sleepers using recycled plastic as raw materials.

The main raw material of the plastic sleeper produced by AGICO is a new type of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, which is a linear structure of thermoplastic engineering plastic with excellent comprehensive properties. Plastic sleeper is an environmentally friendly sleeper with light weight, high strength and cost-effectiveness. It overcomes the problems of poor energy absorption of concrete sleepers, easy breakage, inconvenient construction, and high maintenance costs. At the same time, it also avoids the shortcomings of wooden sleepers such as poor weather resistance, easy corrosion, and no fire prevention. Railway sleepers made from recycled plastic are an effective substitute for wooden sleepers and concrete sleepers. Recycled plastic railway sleepers are widely used in depots, turnouts, bridges and other sections of urban rail transit, and can also be promoted and used on high-speed railways and intercity railways.
Recycled Plastic Railway Sleepers with Excellent Performance

Railway sleepers made from recycled plastic

Compared with traditional composite sleepers, the recycled plastic railway sleepers produced by AGICO use ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE for short) with a higher technological content, which is an unbranched linear polyethylene with a molecular weight of more than 1.5 million. Its heat distortion temperature (0.46MPa) is 85℃, and its melting point is 130~136℃.

Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is a kind of high molecular compound with super abrasion resistance and self-lubricating. With high strength, stable chemical properties and strong anti-aging performance, it is a high-quality material for railway sleepers.

The service life of recycled plastic railway sleepers is 2-3 times that of concrete sleepers and 3-4 times that of wooden sleepers. Its life expectancy is at least 50 years. The product has high performance and easy construction. AGICO's plastic sleeper products have been used in developed countries such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan for many years, with significant effects.

Advantage of plastic sleepers price

Because the raw materials can be recycled, the plastic sleepers price is lower than traditional composite sleepers. The railway sleepers using recycled plastic, which are fully recyclable and renewable, reducing environmental pollution. At the same time, it can reduce the production cost of products, make the plastic sleepers price lower, solve the problem of high cost of composite sleepers in the world, and make the industry more widely used.

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