Concept

Railroad tie

Summary
A railroad tie, crosstie (American English), railway tie (Canadian English) or railway sleeper (Australian and British English) is a rectangular support for the rails in railroad tracks. Generally laid perpendicular to the rails, ties transfer loads to the track ballast and subgrade, hold the rails upright and keep them spaced to the correct gauge. Railroad ties are traditionally made of wood, but prestressed concrete is now also widely used, especially in Europe and Asia. Steel ties are common on secondary lines in the UK; plastic composite ties are also employed, although far less than wood or concrete. As of January 2008, the approximate market share in North America for traditional and wood ties was 91.5%, the remainder being concrete, steel, azobé (red ironwood) and plastic composite. Tie spacing may depend on the type of tie, traffic loads and other requirements, for example 2,640 concrete ties per mile on North American mainline railroads to 2,112 tim
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