View Full Version : Sleepers
18-07-2005, 08:15 PM
Drugs and PC aside, I would rather like to buy some sleepers. About 30 should cover it.
Anyone have any ideas how to go about it.
I dunno about buying them... I don't know if you can actually buy them? Then again, I spose some entreprenuerial money grabber has tried selling them... and probably got away with it.
You need an old railway line. I remember my Dad doing part of the conversion from wood to steel back in the mid eighties I think... but some of the older less used lines might still be replacing them. There is a pile near me, but I have no idea where you are.
Ask a local train gaurd. They will know where your nearest pile is, if there is one. Might be a bit of a way out, but they usually stack them together.
23-07-2005, 02:04 AM
Pardon my ignorance but are you just talking about normal old used redgum railway sleepers? These are available in A, B or C grade from most garden suppliers for around $18 - $22 each.
23-07-2005, 04:18 AM
I don't see it as ignorant. I am talking about old dead sleepers. I can find them on e-bay for $2 just not at the moment. 10 times that seems a bit steep. :(
23-07-2005, 08:26 AM
you should be aware that ALL railway sleepers have been impreganated with pesticides to protect them from termites and will lead to your land becoming polluted plus anything you grow and your groundwater
I wouldnt touch them with a barge pole :roll:
and BTW lso beware on treated pine which has been treated wih CCA ( copper chromium and ARSENIC
there is enough arsenic is the average pine "coppers log" to kill about 1000 people ........
23-07-2005, 09:21 AM
Thank you Frosty, most thoughtful.
In fact, silly as it may seem that I should continue down this path, I was aware of that.
There is no groundwater in the middle of the city that is worth doing anything with, and as for the land, well I suspect the oil soak this is planned to surround may well have taken care of that already.
23-07-2005, 09:52 AM
I got two truckloads when they were updating the line down the road from my place. I think (from memory) the name of the company that does the upgrades in QLD is Austrack (or Austrak, or something like that). I just approached the blokes who were heaping them up as to whether I could buy them. They said they weren't allowed to sell them, but if we'd like to help ourselves, we'd be welcome. They even loaded the truck.
You'll also find a few landscaping supply places selling them for around $5-8 each.
23-07-2005, 11:39 AM
Thats really what I want to do just get say 20 or 30 to create a care barrier with a bit of substance but zero flash, if that makes sense.
23-07-2005, 12:02 PM
Mate, agreed! They look great. Coarse 'n' rustic. The green pine ones look wussy in my book. You'll probably cope quite well with the horrendous pesticide pollution. :shock: If MINE were drenched with toxic-waste levels of pesticide, there wouldn't be so much white-ant damage. :wink:
31-08-2005, 12:01 PM
If you want to buy Sleepers in Brisbane, (from QLD RAIL's nominated seller) have a look at this site:
http://www.corporate.qr.com.au/disposal ... eepers.asp (http://www.corporate.qr.com.au/disposals_acquisitions/buying/sleepers/sleepers.asp)
I am not sure how this one works, but may be worthwhile following up on.
http://www.australiatrade.com.au/Hardwo ... /index.htm (http://www.australiatrade.com.au/Hardwood/Sleepers/index.htm)
31-08-2005, 02:43 PM
Pesticides aside...old rail sleepers often contain mercury from the old train heaters, asbestos from train brakes, all the toxic oily/diesel crap that comes off trains and all the residual poo and wee that was dumped straight on the tracks for decades (I derived great joy from my contributions as a kid...... never at the station though :twisted: ) . Old rail sleepers are big toxic sticks.
01-09-2005, 10:14 AM
No wonder they last for years...... I'd never thought of that side of things Steve. Now your giving me second thoughts about sleepers for my veggie garden, I wonder how long it would take for most nasties to leach out, anyone have any idea..?..
01-09-2005, 11:37 AM
not only pesticides herbicides as well (the railway has to be weed-free), and pi and poo from the passangers at least if there where old-fasioned waggons.
01-09-2005, 12:14 PM
Here is an e-mail I received from TPAA (Timber Perservers Accosiation of Australia):-
Thank your for your enquiry about the use of CCA-treated timber in vegetable gardens.
Yours is not an unusual enquiry Ė since the recent report on CCA we have had many expressions of concern about the safety or otherwise of CCA-treated timber.
Let me begin by assuring you that the government regulator did not find CCA to be a health hazard; they have proposed future restrictions (from March next year) on certain uses where children in particular may come into frequent contact with the treated timber. They did this as a precaution, not because they had evidence that the preservative would cause health problems. Indeed, they calculated that there is much more arsenic in our daily diets than could ever be accumulated by children picking it up from playing on treated timber playgrounds.
There have been many studies about plants and CCA-treated timber. I have put some of the information on the TPAA web site (see http://www.tpaa.com.au/plantuptake.htm).
The government regulator in its report has also reviewed this matter (see Section 6.6 of its Report, Part 2 Environmental Assessment (http://www.apvma.gov.au/chemrev/arsenic_environment.pdf)
The numerous studies have shown little, if any, uptake of arsenic by plants grown in the vicinity of treated timber. However some common sense recommendations include: donít plant the vegetables right up against the treated timber edging; peel any root crops grown e.g. carrots, potatoes; and you may also use a plastic liner against the treated timber.
If you are still worried about the arsenic, you could seek alternative treatments like ACQ or CuAz treated timber. ACQ is sold as NatureWood or TimTech Q, and CuAz is sold as Tanalised E. And of course donít eat steak, seafood, eggs, drink wine or milk, or consume any of the other myriad of foodstuffs that contain small quantities of arsenic.
Good luck in your construction work. Remember to wear a mask to avoid inhaling the wood dust (treated or otherwise) and gloves to avoid splinters. Donít burn treated timber residues as fuel or on your BBQ.
Finally, donít use sprays on your orchard!
Chairman TPAA Technical Committee
Dr Harry Greaves
Wood Products Consultant
Specialist in Wood Preservation
Not "railway sleepers" but I have it, so I thought I would share it. Also the CSIRO has some good stuff on studies into CCA treated timbers.
01-09-2005, 03:20 PM
Hedwig, "pesticide" is a general term that covers any chemical or biological agent that kills plant or animal pests ie herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, etc., are all pesticides....and yes it will be in the test at the end :) At the end of the day they are all nasty and we don't want to eat them.
01-09-2005, 05:47 PM
verrall can you really trust information from a source with such a conflict of interest :roll:
personally I had a very nasty experience when next dors house burned down last january ........ they had CCA treated pine poles arround the verandah ........
over the week following the fire I wa very sick and my hands ( admitedly already weak from pesticide poisoning ) got so weak I can now no longer hand write
this type of thing is a documented side effect of arsenic poisoning
so do you really think it is worth the risk ?
I wish they could be banned and everyone who has them have to remove them
02-09-2005, 08:06 AM
I agree Frosty,
And I am sorry about your condition, hopefully your warning will help others.
Just giving people the info. not condoning CCA treatment.
I have a few CCA treated sleepers around my place (prior to getting into the permie thing). The problem is what do you do with them if you remove them? If you burn them they release the toxic gases (readily admitted by every-one), if you take them to landfill, they messup the soil there. They really are an enviromental hazard.
I am looking for reasonable priced alternatives, concrete, bricks, steel, whatever to build raised beds with, but most are costly. Untreated timber attracts termites like you would not believe, in my part of the world, and as my home is made out of timber, I don't want to do that!
02-09-2005, 08:16 AM
it is a problem what to do with them - it makes me so angry - the manufacturers should have to dispose of them at their cost :twisted:
but I think taking them to a landfill is probably the least harmful option ...... landfills are filled with lots of other toxins as well so at least it is all in one place that people know to avoid
one idea for raised beds is old rainwater tanks cut into sections -
even tyres are probably better than CCA poles or sleepers -
here people also sometimes give away natural rocks either granite or limestone if they have to remove them
cultured limestone blocks are excellent but expensive
hay or straw bales maybe ?
thats all I cant think of for now
02-09-2005, 09:45 AM
A lot of people have used car tyres for growing food in but it should be avoided as tyres leach cadmium, another heavy metal :roll: Cadmium (like mercury) replaces zinc in the body, not a good thing. I researched the use of tyres as fish habitat for my dam as I am stocking it with Australian bass that love to hang out in structure but the cadmium leaching put me off. I can not say what amount would leach but why chance it when an alternate can be found.
02-09-2005, 10:04 AM
Good points all of you.
OK instead of using old second hand sleepers I will concrete the back yard. Much safer overall really.
Do any of you know where I can get some hard wood chips to disguise that?
I thought this was about permaculture. How little I knew.. :!:
02-09-2005, 10:41 AM
City Wide Organic Mulch Supplies
93 Bandara St
Ph: 1800 632 684
There are heaps of suppliers in the yellow pages.
I have seen rainforest mulch for sale at $10 a cubic metre, minimum of 10cu.
delivered. on 3282 0748.
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