Grade: Grade 2-3. These are more weathered, imperfect and reject versions of the amazing Top Grade or Grade 1 African Azobe railway sleepers. A long lasting tropical hardwood railway sleepers for all landscaping projects and general purposes. Originally fairly square and straight, but unrelenting weather and old age has taken its toll. See pictures above.
Colour: Various shades of reddish brown to greyish brown, depending on the bleaching effect of the sun. Various shades of red and brown on the inside, when cut or planed.
Weight: The full pack of 20 is about 2,000kg. 2.6m x 240mm x 140mm size Azobe railway sleepers can weigh as much as 90 - 100 kilos. Bear this in mind when you are ordering your particular type of railway sleeper. How do I plan to carry the railway sleepers into position? (e.g. the back of a garden). How many bottles of wine will I need to coherse, convince or bribe my friends or neighbours to help me?
Treatment: Untreated. These railway sleepers were originally used on the railways without any form of treatment, with an intended lifespan of up to 100 years.
Description: These reclaimed African Azobe railway sleepers are probably between 40 - 70 years old, depending on which section of railway they came from in Europe. When new they were very durable, tight-grained tropical hardwoods with excellent longevity, and made from one of the hardest wood in the world. Probably the ultimate railway sleeper, however these low grade 2-3's are much more weathered and battered than their Top Grade and Grade 1 relatives. Either go for the weathered face or the smoother face, depending on the look you want.
Cutting: Very hard. You'll need a circular saw / chainsaw / powered saw to cut these railway sleepers. Start off with a new or sharpened blade, and be prepared to re-sharpen. Occasionally optimistic people try using a handsaw, but you'd have to be very determined or fit to be successful (or deserving of a severe penance for hurtful behaviour or lascivious thoughts). As with any project, it makes sense to try and limit the amount of cuts you need to do. Try and plan a design that fits with the size of our railway sleepers!
Attaching / Fixing: Timberlok will not screw through these railway sleepers without a pilot hole, even if the drill is powerful, so it is essential to pre-drill. These railway sleepers are very tough !
Sizes: IMPORTANT. All sizes below are approximate. That means that although a railway sleeper is described as 2600mm in length, depth or width it may in fact be several centimetres longer or shorter. This is due to the fact that these railway sleepers were cut decades ago, in circumstances when it wasn't crucial to be centimetre perfect or accurate in dimension. As it happens, most landscaping projects have an element of flexibility or tolerance in them and can cope with this. If your project needs exact accuracy in length, width or depth, then you may to cut them to your precise specifications yourself, or think of using a different railway sleeper.
These are long lasting used African tropical hardwood railway sleepers that happen to be much more weathered, rugged and worn than the Grade 1 versions. Nevertheless they are still suitable for outside landscaping, steps, raised beds, decking, aquatics etc.. as well as internal furniture, lintels, woodturning etc.. Indeed, any project where you want amazingly durable weathered railway sleepers without any creosote complications. Very serious weight, so plan for strong help ! When new they were extremely long lasting, and even used underwater, however old age is now taking its toll. There can be some variations in width and depth, so allow for this in your project. Originally the ultimate railway sleeper, only now much more world weary than their smarter Grade 1 relatives.
Important information about your used railway sleepers
Reclaimed railway sleepers have been practically used for many decades out in the open to support train tracks. Naturally, they have been weathered by the wind, rain, sun and snow, and also can be have residues of grime, dirt, or oil from the trains that have passed or stopped over them. This is simply the obvious consequence of using authentic and historical railway sleepers. Having spent 40 - 60 years on a railway track, they may also have the rustic signs of cracks, loose bits, and 'character' with occasional areas of crumbly softness or decay. Most landscapers install them in the garden, and simply allow the rain and snow to clean them up. Others may choose to jet wash them, especially if they want to sit on them. If you visit our projects pages, you will see thousands of landscaping projects that have used reclaimed railway sleepers, recently taken from the railways.
Historically, railway sleepers never had to be exact in length or width for their purpose on the railway track, and so the sawmills were fairly ‘give or take’ in the timbers they produced. Hence all sizes were approximate. That means that although a railway sleeper may be described as approximately 2600mm in length, or 240mm in width, or 140mm in depth it may in fact be several centimetres (or inches) longer or shorter, thicker or thinner. As it happens, most landscaping projects have an element of flexibility or tolerance in them and can cope with this. However if a specific project needs exact accuracy in length, width or depth then a landscaper may need to either cut the railway sleeper to their precise specifications, or think of using a different size or type of railway sleeper that is more accurate, e.g. the new pine ones.
WHAT DELIVERY CHOICES DO I HAVE ?
You have two options, depending on which delivery option you chose at the checkout stage online, or when you telephone the office.
1) THE CHEAPEST OPTION - CUSTOMER TO OFFLOAD PACK OF RAILWAY SLEEPERS
* YOU are responsible for offloading the pack of railway sleepers from the vehicle. The vehicle does NOT have a crane offload. You must have a forklift,
2) THE MORE EXPENSIVE OPTION - LORRY OFFLOADS PACK OF RAILWAY SLEEPERS WITH CRANE OR FORKLIFT
This delivery charge is usually more expensive than the Pallet system, but is essential if you order some heavy railway sleepers, without any forklift, or sufficient people to help you offload.
You must ensure in advance that a lorry has clear access to your property. It is crucial to tell us, when we contact you to arrange delivery, whether there are any delivery problems - e.g. a narrow road, cul de sac, cars parked in front of the property etc... An unsuccesful delivery will incur a further charge, often equal to the original.
UNTREATED RAILWAY SLEEPERS - THE FACTS
Dense, tight grained, hardwood railway sleepers, especially tropical timbers, are completely different to light, softwood railway sleepers which have to be treated with either creosote or pressure treatment to prevent them rotting and collapsing. Hardwood railway sleepers are much more durable and naturally longer lasting.
African Azobe railway sleepers, for example, are often used untreated by British Waterways under water, due to their natural preservative qualities. Jarra, Karri, Mora, and Greenheart are likewise placed untreated on the railway track by Network Rail, and are expected to last for up to 100 years.
So, untreated railway sleepers are popular with those wanting to keep clear of chemical treatments, or contamination, and wanting to use something that is naturally longer lasting.