Steel sleepers are only 60% of the installed cost of concrete.
Our steel sleepers are the most advanced in the world providing lower installation and maintenance costs and more efficient logistics.
Our wide range of steel sleepers is designed to cater for all types of application, from metre gauge railways to mainline passenger and heavy haul freight routes.
Our steel sleepers require less ballast than traditional concrete sleepers, leading to reduced track construction and renewal costs. Also benefiting from a smaller carbon footprint, our steel sleepers are recyclable, making it easier to hit your sustainability targets.
Investment in research and development means we can offer a wide range of steel railway sleepers. These products meet modern operational demands and track-laying methods. We offer steel sleeper designs for applications varying from metre gauge railways through to mainline operation including heavy axle loads and high speeds. Our designs optimise the combination of sleeper and fastening - for efficient installation and minimum maintenance.
The principle benefits of our steel sleepers are:
Quicker, lower-cost installation using lighter equipment
Steel sleepers are relatively lightweight and stackable. It means they can be manually handled on site or moved in bundles by a forklift. Steel sleepers require about one third fewer vehicle movements compared to concrete.
Steel sleepers require less ballast
Steel sleepers need less depth of ballast than concrete sleepers. This is because the body of ballast within the sleeper provides the necessary spring to distribute load.
Steel sleepers can be replaced without excavating the old ballast
British Steel’s steel sleepers can be laid on existing ballast because of their unique control of the ballast bed and improved long-term drainage.
Concrete sleepers require more excavation and preparation. Up to 450mm of the old ballast and formation has to be removed to achieve the greater depth needed for concrete.
Lower maintenance costs
With steel sleepers, you can expect lower maintenance costs over a typical lifetime of 50 years. This is because there is a reduction in wet spots using steel. Studies demonstrate benefits in longer-term track quality and stability because the contact surface of steel sleepers is higher on the ballast layer and remains drier. Where fines accumulate under concrete sleepers they become waterlogged and degradation of the ballast is accelerated.
Steel sleepers provide greater stability under moving vehicles
Tests in the USA have shown that steel sleepers provide greater stability under moving vehicles. Experience in the UK has shown track with steel sleepers is less susceptible to track buckles.
Once installed, steel sleepers do not rot and are resistant to insect attack. Steel sleepers survive well in wet tropical climates where wood decays rapidly.
Steel sleepers can be reused
Steel sleepers can be reused and steel can be endlessly recycled. In many countries steel sleepers are refurbished and reused after decades in track.