Grade: Grade 2-3. Old Dutch oak hardwood railway sleepers, weathered, in varying rugged conditions, some with splits, bends, rounded edges and oodles of 'rustic character'. SEE PHOTOS.
Colour: Various shades of light, medium and dark brown. See photos above.
Weight: These are lower grade examples of the popular used Grade 1 Dutch oak railway sleepers. Most are about 85-100 kilos in weight). Bear this in mind when you are ordering your used oak railway sleepers. How do I plan to carry these railway sleepers into position? (e.g. the back of a garden). You'll need at least two willing and strong people, and the serious possibility of bribery or cohersion.
Treatment: Creosote treated. Handle with gloves. Although these railway sleepers were treated about 50 years ago, it makes sense to avoid using these railway sleepers around children's play areas or places where people may sit on them or come into contact with them frequently. For further details about creosote see CREOSOTE PAGE.
Description: These packs of reclaimed Grade 2-3 Dutch railway sleepers are probably between 50 - 70 years old, depending on which section of railway they came from. Although the oak may be square edged on one wider face, it can often have some rounded or waney edge (scallops) on the opposite face, where the oak has been cut from the outside of the tree. It will often have cracks in the ends, and can be bowed along the length. See pictures above. Having spent many decades on a railway track, they may inevitably have the rustic signs of cracks, loose bits, or 'character' with occasional areas of crumbly softness or decay. The railway sleeper ends may also have fixed into it an old metal plate or 'S' shape or steel band that was fastened 50 or so years ago to help limit end cracking in the railway sleepers when they'd been newly cut. See photos.
Cutting: Quite hard. You'll need a circular saw / chainsaw / powered saw to cut these railway sleepers. Occasionally people try by handsaw, but you have to be very determined or fit. 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 probably not screw through these railway sleepers without a pilot hole, even if the drill is powerful, so it makes sense to pre-drill.
Sizes: IMPORTANT. All sizes are approximate. That means that although these railway sleeper may be described as approximately 2600mm in length, or 150mm in depth, or 250mm in width they may in fact be several centimetres (or inches) longer or shorter, wider or thicker. 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 need to cut the railway sleeper to your precise specifications yourself, or think of using a different size or type of railway sleeper.
These Grade 2-3 Dutch sleepers are a lower grade rougher version of the popular Grade 1 Dutch oak railway sleepers. Although they can have splits, bows and 'rustic character', they are still useful for landscaping or construction. They were creosote treated about 50 years ago, and most of the treatment has probably disappeared, however it is still not advised for children's areas, or places where people will frequently touch or sit on them as they can have some slight creosote seapage in the summer when the the sun is very hot. Suitable for retaining walls & other landscaping projects, so long as there are no issues with some of them being slightly bent or the sizes irregular. See photos above.
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 50 - 70 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 2600 in length, or 250mm in width, or 150mm 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 RAILWAY SLEEPERS
This is the cheapest, most popular & efficient means of delivery that covers 100% of the UK.
* YOU can chose any delivery day you want in advance within 2- 4 working days, Mon - Fri, between 9am & 5pm.
* YOU can chose, for a surcharge, a next day delivery, timed delivery or saturday delivery.
* YOU are responsible for offloading the railway sleepers from the vehicle. The vehicle does NOT have a crane offload. If you do not have a forklift, you MUST have at least 2 or more strong people to manally offload. These railway sleepers are too heavy for one person. The driver is not able to help you offload or carry railway sleepers into your house or garden.
One exception! If the railway sleepers are 1.2m or less in length, the lorry driver CAN place the railway sleepers onto the pavement or road using the lorry tail lift and hand palletruck.
The vehicle is normally a non-artic rigid lorry (carrying approx 10 - 15 tons)
2) THE MORE EXPENSIVE OPTION - LORRY OFFLOADS 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.
* Your order can be crane-offloaded so long as there is sufficient space for the crane or forklift to operate without lifting over vehicles etc...
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.
IS THERE A MINIMUM ORDER ?
No. It makes no difference. The cost to you is the same whether we deliver 1 railway sleeper or 10 railway sleepers... e.g. if the delivery cost to somewhere in the UK for 20 railway sleepers was for example £99 + Vat, then the delivery for 1 railway sleeper would cost the same. That's because our hauliers charge us according to how many pallets the order takes up, so whether there is 1 railway sleeper on a pallet, or 20 railway sleepers on it, it makes no difference!
HOW DO WE WORK OUT THE DELIVERY COST ?
The cost depends on the postcode of where you live, the number, size and weight of your railway sleepers, how quickly you want it, and whether you can offload or not. Lots of different variables! If you order online, the delivery cost will be worked out automatically by a computer brain. If you order by telephone, the delivery cost will be calculated by a mere human being, who will chat with you whilst working it all out!
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.