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RAILWAY SLEEPERS


 
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inishindie
Rank attained: Tree plantation keeper


Joined: 27 May 2007
Posts: 563
Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:33 am    Post subject: RAILWAY SLEEPERS Reply with quote

Hi all,

I once had the idea to import railway sleepers into Inishowen for use in landscape design. I would have had to go overseas, as most of the Irish sleepers have been used up. I am glad I decided not to after reading this week's news. The Pesticide Control Service (PCS), have placed seizure orders on shipments of railway sleepers coming into the country.

The reason for this is that the sleepers have been soaked in creosote. Creosote was banned in 2003 because of a risk of cancer and the EU concluded that even low levels of the substance cause rashes and irritations. The sleepers that are now sitting in the garden centres and DIY stores can only be sold to farmers. How this will be implemented I don't know (and why is it OK for farmers to have them - are they more immune to the toxins?)

Sleepers do ooze creosote in hot weather and there are over 200 chemicals in creosote. Another worry is that if you have raised beds made from them, the chemicals could seep into the soil and be absorbed by the plants.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency claims that the "sleepers were being used for improper purposes, in domestic situations where there was a risk of contact with creosote" (I think they mean that they could be used as fireplaces in the home).

Never mind! There are plenty of other things to make raised beds out of (I made a great one out of old books once -maybe not as aesthetically pleasing, but it did the job).

Cheers

Ian

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ollie
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought sleepers from a garden centre last year and they are not soaked in creosote. They cost 25euros each and were 8 foot long. I got 3 and cut one to make ends.I now have a cute herb bed which I can move anytime I like. I presume they are manufactured and never came close to a train!
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inishindie
Rank attained: Tree plantation keeper


Joined: 27 May 2007
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Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: handy Reply with quote

Hi Ollie

The purpose made ones (from sustainable sources of course!) are handy to have because they haven't the problem of bits of metal being in them. I have seen many a chainsaw blade bite the dust after they hit a steel pin left in from the track fitting.

Cheers

Ian


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Rockworld
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:47 am    Post subject: railway sleepers Reply with quote

The new version of the railway sleepers dont have creosote and they are much much lighter to work with.
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cooler
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:55 am    Post subject: Re: railway sleepers Reply with quote

Rockworld wrote:
The new version of the railway sleepers dont have creosote and they are much much lighter to work with.


Do they look as good though?
Are they rugged looking, and if not is there a good way to give them an aged appearance.
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Rockworld
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The new style sleepers are not "rugged" but you only need a hammer to create dents in them and a chisel if you want to gouge them. The ones I've seen are lighter in colour also.
As far as I am aware creosote was banned in 2003 because of its carcogenic properties. The act is http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2003/20031511.htm . Interestingly it seems its ok to use them for "Industrial" use.
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cooler
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Rockworld.
Interesting reading.
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inishindie
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Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:58 pm    Post subject: Are they legal? Reply with quote

Hi

Could anyone clarify the laws on selling railway sleepers?

I was under the impression that they can only be sold for industrial use. Would raised beds be industrial?

Let me explain why I ask...

I have just been talking to a woman who has bought a bale (24 sleepers) off of a agricultural merchant. He said thay were from abroad and soaked in creosote so they will last years (he was singing the praises of creosote).

Since buying them it has been pointed out to the woman that there were cancer scares so she asked the bloke of he would take them back ,he refused, saying he has a mountain of them himself....

This seems a bit unfair as the woman feels that she cannot make her vegetable raised beds out of them because of risk of contamination and is left with a potential health risk in her garden form materials that she dare not use.

I have read the link that rockworld sent in from the OPSI but am still confused.

Should this person be selling creosote soaked sleepers? or is he working beyond the law?

Does anyone have any more details please

I found this just now, it's got some interesting stuff on it....

http://www.railwaysleeper.com/railway%20sleeper%20treatments.htm

Cheers

Ian

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verge
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Joined: 04 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Are they legal? Reply with quote

[quote="inishindie"]

Could anyone clarify the laws on selling railway sleepers?

I was under the impression that they can only be sold for industrial use. Would raised beds be industrial?
[/quote]

Most of these places are selling the sleepers with signs saying "sleepers for sale". They are careful to never say "sleepers for sale, ideal for vegetable beds". They are probably banking on the ruling that the Arsenic treated timber is allowed for use as Earth retaining structures. But this is only in industrial situations, as the ruling states

Arsenic-treated wood may not be used in:

Residential or domestic constructions, whatever the purpose,
Any application where there is a risk of repeated skin contact,
Marine waters,
Agriculture other than structural uses or for livestock fence posts (3(i) or 3(vii),
Any application where the treated wood may come into contact with intermediate or finished products intended for human and/or animal consumption.



Full list of the rulings listed here http://www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/news.htm

Next question, are the particular sleepers you are asking about really treated with CCA- (Copper, Chrome and Arsenic), then take it from there.

There are of course modern, specially created garden sleepers available. Without all the nasty chemicals.

Need materials?
Irish home delivery.

Need materials?
UK home delivery.

Need materials?
US home delivery.











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sal
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the ones we bought this weekend we believe were stripped of the chemicals,i hope this to be true ,we paid 25 euro each one,but we are not putting them with edible crops etc just to egde our garden and paths,i think i would use somnething else to put round food crops,not that i`m that advanced in gardening,barely got toms and lettuces this year,oh and parsley,
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scotty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking of using treated hardwood 'sleepers' for kerbing purposes - would they be suitable for this or will they rot within 10 years or so?
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting piece in the Irish examiner.......

Railway staff busted for selling toxic sleepers.

A FULL public inquiry has been called for into how staff at Irish Rail managed illegally to sell toxic railway sleepers into the domestic garden market.

The sleepers were sold by some rail staff carrying out renovation work at a former rail depot in Dublin. During 2006, a truck transporting the sleepers, which contain chemicals scientifically linked to skin cancer, was stopped by gardaĆ­ and it was discovered that the sale of sleepers by staff "was a continual and ongoing event".

Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/rail-staff-sold-toxic-sleepers-to-market-104432.html#ixzz0VK15PXPU

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dinahdabble
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand that tellegraph poles used to be creasoted. I recall burning one on my wood fire back in the 80's (no I didn't chop it down and drag it home - even if it was during the 80's) It really stank, and we were all gasping. We eventualy put what was left in the Council skip for disposal.
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