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Railway Sleepers

Things have moved on in the sleeper market from the days when the only option was massive UK sourced reclaimed sleepers completely covered with tar that had very limited usage options. We are now able to offer an extensive range of new Softwood and Oak railway sleepers sourced from the UK and Canada as well as excellent quality European reclaimed sleepers. If you are interested in discovering more about our range of new and reclaimed garden sleepers and their availability near you, please take a browse below or contact your local depot to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

where are you located

We have branches across the south coast of England, including Poole in Dorset, Winchester, Tadley, Romsey and Portsmouth in Hampshire. Internal showrooms are available to view in Poole and Portsmouth and External Display are available at Portsmouth, Poole, Winchester and Tadley. 

Please visit our contact page for further information on the following link:    /our-depots

Will railway sleepers rot?

Yes all timber used for landscaping projects will rot eventually, best practice should be followed to ensure longevity of your sleeper installation. Please follow link below for some detailed guidance on sleeper installations:

Sleepers installation guide

Are all railway sleepers treated?

Not all railway sleepers are treated, most reclaimed sleepers at some point in their lives have been treated and sometimes not with very pleasant products. Softwood sleepers are generally pressure treated to improve their life span, and some cheaper softwood sleepers are dipped in preservative, but this is not such a successful method. Oak sleepers are generally not treated but we would recommend some level of treatment for any sleepers even oak that are going to come in contact with the ground

How long do railway sleepers last?

Each type of sleeper will have a slightly different life span due to different preservative treatment and different wood types. A big factor in the life span of railway sleepers is the ground conditions of the installation site and the quality of the installation. Please read our guide on installing railway sleepers on the link below:

Outdoor Oak and softwood sleepers

Below is some general guidance on life span of different sleeper types:

Softwood treated sleepers (Tanalised not dipped) 8 to 10 years

New Oak sleepers 10 to 20 years

Reclaimed sleepers (hardwood) 15 to 25 years

This life spans are greatly affected by the quality of the timber used and the ground conditions so please take care to select the best sleepers which are quite often not the cheapest.

Are railway sleepers safe for vegetable gardens?

Only new oak and treated softwood sleepers are recommended for vegetable gardens, but reclaimed sleepers have been used for decades. You would need to be sure there is no Creasote, oil or tar present in the sleepers, so it best to avoid reclaimed sleepers for this application.

Can you paint railway sleepers?

You can paint Railway sleepers, but you must use an exterior wood paint or preserver that has been formulated to do this job specifically. The problem with painting sleeper is that you will have to continuously re-paint them to keep them looking good. We would recommend only doing this if essential, it is best to just let them age gracefully.

On the other hand if you are thinking of using additional wood preservative prior to installation to increase protection, this is a different matter and we would fully recommend that everyone does this if time permits, especially taking care to cover all cut ends with the preservative. This will greatly increase the life expectance of the sleeper installation and will result in a far better job.

How to join railway sleepers?

The best way to join railway sleepers is to use a sleeper screw normally at least 50mm long than the timber you are screwing through. If you are stacking sleepers on top of each other, always use a brick bond with the corners having a overlapped joint, these sleepers will then need to be screwed to the row below and to each other using the same sleeper screws.

Can you lay railway sleepers directly on the soil?

Railway sleepers can be laid directly onto the soil, but in most cases, it is advisable to give them some additional treatment to prevent rot, especially in damp or wet conditions. Full installation guide on installing railway sleepers is below:

Outdoor Oak and Softwood Sleepers

Can I come and collect from you?

Yes. Our opening hours and address are found on the Contact Us page. We have fork-lift trucks for loading onto suitable vehicles at all sites, and staff are always available to help with loading of smaller items. We highly recommend that you call your local branch, before visiting, to confirm the items you wish to collect are available.

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