Recycled plastic sleepers laid near Wyndham Vale in Victoria

In a first for Victoria, 200 recycled plastic sleepers have been installed for use by the state’s regional V/Line trains.

According to a statement from Sustainability Victoria, the installation took place on July 23, in the new storage yard for regional trains. The sleepers are manufactured by Integrated Recycling of Mildura, which made news in June due the installation of 200 of its recycled sleepers for trials near Richmond station in Melbourne.
According to Integrated Recycling, 64 tonnes of recycled plastic – polystyrene and agricultural plastic – are used for every kilometre of track laid, and they have a service life of 50 years. The company’s sleepers have been used at heritage railway sites. 150 sleepers are also being trialled by Queensland Rail at two stretches of track between Chinchilla and Miles and between Helidon and Gatton.
“Concrete has always been the most reliable option – until now,” the Sustainability Victoria release states.
“Thorough testing shows the recycled plastic sleepers won’t melt, crack or flake off under pressure. They won’t leach into the environment and are much less carbon intensive to make.”
Monash University’s Institute of Railway Technology has tested and helped develop standards for the recycled sleepers, and the collaboration with Integrated Recycling has been assisted through Sustainability Victoria’s through Research, Development and Demonstration grants and the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund. 
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