Railway sleepers during the steam era in the UK

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JLK2707
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Railway sleepers during the steam era in the UK

Postby JLK2707 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:59 am

I am just wondering if there were concrete or steel railway sleepers used in the UK during the steam age or if all the sleepers which were used were wooden.

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luckymucklebackit
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Re: Railway sleepers during the steam era in the UK

Postby luckymucklebackit » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:23 am

This Signature Left Intentionally Blank, but since I have written this and I intended to do it, this Signature is intentionally not blank. Paradox or What?
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Bufferstop
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Re: Railway sleepers during the steam era in the UK

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:08 am

If you just want a rule of thumb, stick to wood pre WW2. Steel was extensively used in WW1 prefabricated field track and subsequently in contractors temporary lines. It was easier to transport and set up, looked rather like the prototype for Hornby 0 gauge tinplate track.
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Mountain
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Re: Railway sleepers during the steam era in the UK

Postby Mountain » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:40 pm

JLK2707 wrote:I am just wondering if there were concrete or steel railway sleepers used in the UK during the steam age or if all the sleepers which were used were wooden.

Yes, but they were rare. Swansea museum has an example of a steel railway sleeper manufactured in Wales in the 1930's and while I was on the railways older guards were telling me about the trials they had with continuous welded rails and also concrete sleepers in west Wales which would have been around the 1950's from what I heard. The concrete sleepers may have been used before that but the rails were laid between Clunderwen and Clarbeston Road area from what I was told. Pointwork was always kept to wood sleepers as wood has a bit of give to it. Also any marsh areas needed wood.
While trials were carried out in early days, it wasn't untill the mid to late 1980's in my area of Wales when most mainlines were converted to concrete sleepers and continuously welded rail. Many branch lines and sidings still run with the sectional type track lengths and wooden sleepers today. When I worked on the railways up until 2007, in my area that I worked as a guess it was about 60-65% concrete along with about the same being welded rail and about 2% metalled sleepers and the rest was wood. The metal sleepers were originally layed as temporary sleepers but they worked so well they were left there!
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