Composite railroad ties multiply in metro commuter rail line

AXION, which uses recycled plastics and composites to manufacture ECOTRAX railroad ties, has received two recent orders for ties from Miami-Dade County in Florida and Dallas Area Rapid Transit in Texas.


AXION (New Providence, N.J.) announced several new contracts for its ECOTRAX rail ties, which are extruded with its patented recycled structural composite (RSC) material. The company received a third purchase order for ECOTRAX from Miami-Dade Transit (Miami, Fla.) through a sale made by Miami-based Eastern Rail Corp., an AXION distribution partner. Miami-Dade Transit’s Metrorail system, which serves Miami-Dade County in Florida, has already installed ECOTRAX rail ties from two previous orders throughout its 24.4-mile/39.3 km elevated rapid transit system. The ties range in size from 8.5 ft to 18 ft (2.6m to 5.5m) in length. This most recent purchase order increases Miami-Dade Transit’s purchase of ECOTRAX to about 2,000 rail ties, or about 1 million lb/453.6 metric tonnes of plastic that has been diverted from landfills and recycled says AXION.

Due to Miami’s coastal tropical climate, rail ties are exposed to hostile conditions that include very high levels of rainfall, sun exposure and sea salt — and termites, one of the main causes of rail tie failure in Miami. Traditional wood rail ties have a shorter service life in this environment; the only woods that offer reasonable durability are rare tropical hardwoods imported from the Amazon, which can take up to a year to ship. ECOTRAX is designed to be an alternative that offers both environmental benefits and a higher financial return on investment due to the ties’ much longer service life and performance capabilities that, AXION claims, exceed other composite ties on the market.

AXION also received an order of more than $500,000 for its ECOTRAX composite ties from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for use in the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) that connects Dallas and Fort Worth. TRE regularly purchases and installs ECOTRAX main line rail ties and specialty ties for use in crossings, turnouts and bridges.

“DART and TRE are committed to preserving the environment and overall sustainability. This latest order eliminated the need to cut down more than 2,500 trees,” claims Timothy McKay, DART’s executive VP, growth and regional development. Like the Miami-Dade contracts, those signed with DART also account for more than 1 million lb/453.6 metric tonnes of recycled plastic.
“Reorders from current customers are the strongest testament to our technology and the value it delivers,” says AXION president and CEO Steve Silverman.