Production of sleepers made out of recycled plastic and rubber has commenced in Houston, Texas, after a seven-year R&D programme that has cost U$4m. The production line has been set up by TieTek Inc after tests with plastic sleepers produced by three companies at AAR’s Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado. TieTek is a wholly owned subsidiary of North American Technologies.

Although 6000 sleepers produced by TieTek are already in use, the breakthrough into series production came when a $10m order for 25000 to be supplied over two years was placed last February by Union Pacific.

The plastic sleepers are intended to replace wood sleepers, and must therefore be interchangeable. At 114 kg they are 11% heavier than hardwood, and the cost at $40 is about 12 % higher, but the life of a plastic sleeper is expected to be substantially longer.

Tie Tek Inc, USA

Reader Enquiry Number 144