Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most important factors to look for in new ties?

Density and strength are key factors. Density between 0.7 and 1.1 is best. Oak, the most popular USA wood, is 0.68. High density wood, above 0.7, resists rotting because it does not allow water or termites to penetrate the wood. Tropical hardwoods are impenetrable to water and insects and do not need to be creosote treated. A high bending strength for heavy loading is also important. Wood ties can absorb some bending under heavy loads; concrete ties cannot. When a tie has both high density and bending strength, it is top quality. Rail Road Ties sells only new ties.

What tie materials have the longest service life?

Tropical hardwoods offer the longest service life and are priced competitively with creosoted ties. They are very strong and dense, yet allow bending for heavy loads. Wood is resilient and if overloaded, will give, but not break. Service life of 40 to 50 years is common and in one case tropical hardwood ties are still in service after 114 years in the desert. By comparison concrete ties will fail if overloaded, typically last and average of 41 years, and cost twice as much as hardwood and tropical hardwood ties. LoadingSuperhardwoods





What are precision plated ties?

Precision plated ties are produced in the factory under very precise conditions. Each tie is pre-drilled by machine and the rail plates are installed using lag screws instead of spikes. The highly uniform result allows rails to be placed more quickly and more accurately, and provides greater operational safety for the railroad.

Ties and Precision Plates Track Panels-Travelift Layer

How and where are tropical hardwoods sourced for your rail road ties?

Our sustainable tropical ties come from many regions around the globe including Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. All of our wood is harvested legally within the laws and permits of the source country. All of our providers and points of origin are known to us.

Additionally, we work with the non-profit Global Reforestation Initiative to help replant what we harvest. We value trees as a renewable resource and want to promote good growing, harvesting and production processes.

What are pre-fabricated track panels?

Imagine a model train, such as the toy trains and tracks manufactured by the Lionel Corporation, and you will recall that the track came in sections or panels that snapped together. Applying that idea we now have the technology and resources to manufacture track panels that are 40 or 60 feet long. Each panel is constructed using precision plated ties and machine driven specifications for spacing. During construction track panels are lifted into place and fastened to each other for quick, precise installation.

Track Panels-Travelift Layer





Should I use creosote ties for landscaping?

Creosote is a mix of coal tar (a known carcinogen) and diesel oil. It will kill your plants and a splinter will infect your hand. There are other products on the market but it takes a long time plus EPA involvement to stop creosote use. We recommend new, untreated ties for architectural retaining walls.

Gator Creek Stairs





Why don’t you sell used ties?

Used ties are rotten by definition. Otherwise the railroads would not be replacing them. They are cheap, but they will not last long.


To discuss your project and order new ties call 1+208-331-1555
“Mountain Time” or contact us