Australian first: railway sleepers made of recycled plastic get type approval by Victorian operators

Duratrack Railway Sleepers has announced what it says is an Australian first: type approval of its composite recycled railway sleepers from mainline rail operators V/Line and Metro Trains Melbourne.

In a short statement on Linkedin on Wednesday, Duratrack (part of Integrated Recycling) said, “After successful in-track trials at Wyndham Vale (V/Line) and Richmond Station Metro (MTM), and with other rail companies trialling, this exciting and innovative development could point the way to a future of sustainable rail infrastructure.

“The Duratrack sleeper is an exemplar product for rail to help meet the targets being set by each Government for the use of recycled products under the National Waste Policy Action Plan.”

According to the company, the sleepers have a lifespan of 50 years versus 14 years for timber sleepers, and every kilometre of track laid will use approximately 64 tonnes of recycled plastic.

Integrated Recycling has been developing the sleepers, which use 85 per cent recycled material, since 2014. According to a profile by Sustainability Victoria, these include “a mix of polystyrene and agricultural plastic waste, including cotton bale wrap, vineyard covers and pipe from the mining industry.”

Victorian in-track trials were announced in 2019, with 190 sleepers installed at Richmond station in June that year, and 200 sleepers laid at a new storage yard for regional trains at Wyndham the month after. This followed use by tourism and heritage operators.

“We think there is cause for genuine optimism that this product can be a winner for both the rail industry and the environment”, Integrated Recycling General Manager Stephen Webster said.

Picture: Integrated Recycling

Subscribe to our free @AuManufacturing newsletter here.

Share this Story

Stay Informed

Go to Top