Timber Replacement

Timber sleepers have been traditionally used in Australia and throughout the world due to their dependability, affordability and availability. Recently, rising costs and declining quality, as well as society’s increasing environmental sensitivity, has challenged the continuing use of timber sleepers.

Traditionally prestressed-sleepers designed following AS 1085.14:2003 are not suitable for replacing sleepers in track due to their increased cross section and stiffer modulus. Austrak, in conjunction with Uniquest, has been conducting research and development to tackle this issue. As a result of this research, Austrak has developed the Timber Replacement Sleeper (TRS) using the Austrak Patented Rational Design Method. The Austrak Rational Design Process addresses the actual environment in which the structure will operate. Actual loads and loading conditions are applied to actual characteristics of the track structure and its environment.

The result is a pre-stressed concrete sleeper which has a profile comparable to a timber sleeper, reducing the need to change ballast depth or sub-base while keeping the same rail height. With a 50-year design life, the TRS increases track stability and eliminates loss of track gauge over time when compared to timber sleepers. The TRS adds mass to the track structure, can be placed alongside existing steel or timber sleepers, in a random or patterned configuration, improving stability and can be tamped in the same manner as timber sleepers.

Austrak TRS sleepers are in service throughout Australia with more than 1.5 million sleepers installed to date.

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